Esher is to lose one of its most historically important buildings after the Government confirmed it would not call in for review a planning application to demolish 18th century Moore Place.
Moore Place Holdings submitted plans earlier this year to build a 50-bedroom hotel with 78 car parking spaces and a bar and restaurant, on greenbelt land next to Moore Place along Portsmouth Road.
The developers will now knock down the boarded up building, recently known as Esteem, which has been painted purple and described as an “eyesore”, and build the new hotel further back.
Although the application was given planning permission by councillors at a meeting this month, the final decision was referred to the Government Office for the South East (GOSE), as it contravened the council’s development plan, which does not allow for building on greenbelt land.
GOSE has informed the council it will not hold up proceedings, giving the green light for developers to carrying out their plans.
Tory councillor for Esher David Archer, who supported the application, said the development would be good for the area.
He said: “I think it’s brilliant news for Esher - it will energise the area into a destination, rather than a drive through.
“It will also get rid of the atrocious existing building with a building that is worthy of Esher.”
Joan Leifer from the Esher Residents’ Association, who campaigned against the plans because they encroached into the greenbelt, criticised the Conservative councillors who had granted Moore Place Holdings planning permission.
She said: “The Tory councillors made pledges in their election manifestos to maintain the greenbelt. As soon as they are tested on this pledge, they have fallen down.”
But Coun Archer argued that the new building would not have a detrimental effect on the green belt as it had a similar footprint to the existing building.
He said: “The new building is just being moved to a more central location.”