Furious residents stormed out of a council meeting shouting “disgrace” as a contoversial planning application to re-develop Epsom Station was given the go-ahead.

The plans were given the green light at an Epsom and Ewell Council Planning Sub-Committee meeting last night (April 22) and work may start this summer - despite concerns raised by councillors during the debate.

A resident from Horsley Close, a cul-de-sac located immediately behind the station where a car park will be built, spoke at the meeting against the plans.

Janet Burgess, from the Horsley Close Action Group, said at the meeting: “Epsom already has many hotels, all with room availability.

"Residents living in Horsley close will suffer a loss of privacy and be overlooked by balconies in the proposed flats.”

But resident Richard Gough, who spoke on behalf of local minicab drivers, said: “The extra housing and hotel would bring a much needed boost to shops in the town and provide extra employment for local people.”

Responding to questions about the height of the proposed development, set to have six storeys, a council’s legal adviser said the council was likely to lose on appeal due to a previous planning application permission given to Solum regeneration in 2004 and renewed last month.

A few weeks ago, the Epsom Guardian reported how the renewal, granted behind closed doors by council officers without a new public consultation, was likely to affect the outcome of last night’s meeting.

Councillor Allison Kelly proposed a motion for refusal, but withdrew it after hearing the council’s legal advice, prompting a negative reaction from members of the public who attended the meeting.

Councillor Sheila Carlson said: “We do very definitely need a new station, this station does look a mess. Whether we need to be jumping into taking on a design which in my opinion could be enhanced more is debatable.”

A government adviser, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe), had reviewed Solum’s application two days before the meeting and advised the council to refuse it.

The report read: “We do not think this scheme should receive planning approval, and are disappointed by the low quality approach to the design of both the station, and the associated retail, hotel and residential development.”

It also read: “Despite several requests for copies of the revised drawings from both Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, and the design team, these were not received in time to provide comments for the planning committee scheduled for the 22 April 2010.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We confirm that the latest comments from Cabe are a material consideration in assessing the proposals for Epsom Station and have been made available to Members of the Planning Committee.

“The revised plans in their then draft form were provided to Cabe on February 23. Cabe subsequently requested a set of the final drawings in order to finalise their comments.

"They were advised by the council to obtain these directly from the developer. We understand that Cabe did not receive these until April 20 because the latest Computer Generated Images (CGIs) were not available before then.”

A spokeswoman for Solum Regeneration said: "All aspects of the proposed development were discussed during the course of the public exhibition in October 2009 and additional stakeholder meetings.

“Subsequent revisions were made to the scheme, which included the proposals for car parking on Horsley Close - which was in itself, a response to concerns from local residents relating to the level of car parking within the development.

“Residents were then consulted on the scheme as part of the planning process once the application was submitted in November 2009.

"In addition to this, local residents were also consulted further to the submission of revised drawings in March of this year.

“Over 420 people attended the public exhibition with a majority in support of the proposals, a survey was undertaken which demonstrated a majority of businesses also in favour of the proposals.

"In bringing forward this development it has been necessary to balance many competing interests, we are satisfied that this has been achieved.

“The previous application referred to was not a renewal application. Planning permission was obtained in 2005 subject to the completion of a legal agreement. This legal agreement was consequently signed earlier this year.

"There is no statutory requirement to re-consult in these circumstances. This is a standard procedural process."