A councillor has declared victory in his campaign to save an ancient orchard in Badshot Lea from housing development.

Cllr Chris Jackman (Farnham Residents, Badshot Lea & Moor Park) said: “It is with delight that I notify you that a Tree Preservation Order (Woodland) has been placed over the Badshot Lea orchard woodland in its entirety by Waverley Borough Council.

“As you know, a huge community effort has taken place on this and although there would have only been 10 houses built, it was hard work getting this over the line.”

It comes after more than 1,000 people signed a petition started by Cllr Jackman to ‘Help us to save the Badshot Lea Ancient Orchard from being torn down!’.

The pocket of land at the Waverley’s Folly site in St George’s Road is the subject of a planning application by Elivia Homes for ten homes, as an extension to its existing 23-home development at the front of the site.

However, Cllr Jackman has described the orchard as “a biodiverse safe haven for nature, that retains cultural heritage and provides public amenity” and added “development should never have been on the cards in the first place”.

“I look forward to working with interested parties in the coming months and years ahead to ensure the orchard is enhanced for the benefit of the local community as was originally promised by Vanderbilt Homes (now Elivia Homes),” he said.

Cllr Jackman thanked the thousand-plus people who signed his petition.

He added: “I am grateful to everybody who signed the petition, who got in touch to show their support, and in particular to the community groups who got involved and provided us with lots of evidence of why this orchard should be retained.”