A decision on whether a leading charity for the disabled will be allowed to modernise its facilities and build housing on part of its greenbelt site has been deferred by councillors.

The Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) has applied to Mole Valley Council for planning permission to revamp its site in Leatherhead Court, Woodlands Road, Leatherhead.

The charity, which provides employability training for the disabled, independent living accommodation, education and rehabilitation, plans to create a modern campus with learning, sport and leisure facilities, accommodation for 48 trainees and a "charitable hub".

It also wants to build 76 homes in order to help fund the £22m redevelopment.

But at a meeting of the council’s development control committee on Wednesday, August 6, councillors agreed that a decision on the planning application - which has been recommended for refusal by council officers - should be deferred.

A council spokeswoman said: "It was agreed that the application would be deferred.

"This was for further consideration of noise and ecological matters.

"The development control committee will reconsider the planning application in due course."

Jonathan Powell, the charity’s chief executive, said it wants to redevelop the site because its buildings are outdated and no longer appropriate for disabled people. 

Before the meeting, he said that if planning permission is refused for the development, the 80-year-old charity would have to "consider its future" in Leatherhead because all of its work over the past five years has focused on its ability to modernise.

Following Wednesday’s decision, he said: "QEF is obviously disappointed by this delay. 

"However, we will be carefully looking at the stated reasons for deferral and how best the issues raised can be resolved.

"I would, however, like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone that supported QEF by writing to the council, raising their voices on social media, or speaking at the meeting to share their views on our plans."