Campaigners are celebrating after an appeal lodged against the refusal of a residential development in East Molesey was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.
Plans for 63 houses and 13 flats with associated open space, landscaping and car parking on the land next to the Pavilion Sports Club, Hurst Lane, were unanimously refused by Elmbridge Council’s north area planning subcommittee in January 2011.
Councillors refused the application “by virtue of the loss of open space and playing field space is considered to result in harm to the character of the area and the total provision of recreational facilities within the borough”.
The applicant, JS Bloor, appealed the initial decision and lost, then convinced the High Court to allow it to appeal again, on a technicality.
The second appeal was refused on July 31. Judges said the main issues of the proposal were the effect on the character and appearance of the area, provision of open space, sports and recreation facilities and its effect on the supply of housing.
Planning inspector Lloyd Rodgers said in his report the key issue was the “the loss of the open space and its replacement by built form”.
Sharon Bolton, chairman of the Molesey Community Action Group, said: “Obviously we are really pleased. We had a community action group that we put together with about 12 members on it and everybody worked really hard.
“It was three years of work and it is a great result for Molesey as it would be Molesey that would lose out.
“You never know how these things will fall, but we were confident. The really interesting thing was at the two appeals, the campaign had grown in support and more people were on the committee. The reaction from the Molesey neighbourhood has been overwhelming.”
Mrs Bolton said she now wanted the council to protect the land from development.
She said: “We want the council to get behind us. We would love to have that landed opened up for what it was originally meant for.”