Councillors will decide tonight whether a care home can be built on playing fields despite opposition from Sport England and campaigners.

Charity Nonsuch Abbeyfield wants to build sheltered housing, with 60 flats and round-the-clock care, on part of the fields in Old Schools Lane, Ewell.

Epsom’s planning committee will decide if they will follow officers’ "finely balanced" recommendation that planning permission should be refused.

Officers decided the loss of open space and damage to the character of the conservation area outweighed the benefits of elderly accommodation, a new pavilion and improvements to remaining pitches.

A group of the playing fields' users have collected more than 1,500 signatures as part of a petition in a bid to save them and Sport England has voiced opposition. There are also fears over increased traffic and flood risks.

But Nonsuch Abbeyfield has called for people to back its plans their not-for-profit scheme which was being made possible by the legacy of a resident.

In an advertisement in this newspaper, one of their residents said: "It’s a wonderful opportunity to extend Nonsuch Abbeyfield’s services."

The council has received 220 objections and 169 letters and emails in support of the plans.

The plans will be discussed by Epsom's planning committee at Epsom Town Hall on Thursday, September 4 at 7.30pm.

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