Early work can now begin on the largest development in Kingston for fifty years, after the council approved a 950-home development on the Tolworth Toby Jug site by the A3.

Developer Meyer Homes has been trying to build on the site ever since it bought the land in 2015 from Tesco.

Cllr Patricia Bamford, chairwoman of the Development Control Committee that gave the permission on July 11, said: “This brownfield site has been left abandoned for over a decade and the need for housing has been growing throughout that period.

“This is a large development that will deliver much-needed housing in the borough, 30 per cent (285 units) of which is affordable.”

Plans also include a doctors’ surgery, a nursery, a space for the Metropolitan Police and a shop, as well as improvements to Tolworth roundabout and the extension of the 281 bus route.

The council refused a smaller application for 705 homes on the site in July 2016 – a decision that developer Meyer Homes appealed.

Kingston Council then did not fight the appeal, because of the likely high costs involved, and Meyer Homes then submitted a larger application after the secretary of state’s inspector suggested the site could hold more homes.

Councillor Malcolm Self, who voted against the 705-home application in 2016 and was part of a group fighting the scheme called Residents Against Over-development, said the circumstances had changed since then, and the inspector’s report is a “material consideration”.

He said: “One might deduce that if I said the 705 application should be refused, particularly on density grounds, that I might therefore automatically want to refuse this application on the grounds that it’s more dense.

“To a large extent I still do feel that, however we are where we are, and we have to take into consideration all the information and facts in front of us, which might include the weight of public opinion, but we can’t assess an application solely on the weight of public opinion.

“What we can’t do is bury our heads in the sand and say we are going to ignore the inspector’s views, whether we agree with the inspector or not.

“What this borough and this area needs whether people like it or not is more housing.”

He went on to say he would vote to approve the scheme “with a heavy heart”, because he still believed the plans involved over-development.

The decision, made by nine votes for to one against, gives Meyer Homes the go-ahead to build the first 211 homes at the site – the rest of the scheme has been given permission in outline only.

Cllr Kevin Davis, who was leader of the council when the decision not to fight the 2016 appeal was made, voted in favour.

He said: “If we take 20 years to develop every piece of land in the borough, then we are going to be here a very, very long time building homes, and I think the regret is that this site hasn’t already been built out.

“It should have been finished probably a decade ago. So something has to happen; it can’t be a derelict site any more.”