Allotment holders in a Birmingham suburb are celebrating the reclamation of some of their land after seeing off another expansion bid by an exclusive golf club.

Moseley Golf Club has been in a long-running battle to expand on to Billesley Lane Allotments, which is located on land it acquired at the start of the Second World War.

A decade ago the club, in Kings Heath, announced it wanted to terminate allotment leases on the land because it wanted to build a golf driving range.

Birmingham City Council, however, stepped in to save plot holders by using special powers to compulsorily purchase the land in a bid to protect it from development.

A public inquiry followed after the golf club contested the order and a compromise was eventually reached which saw about two thirds of the allotment - enough for 35 plots - taken back by the club three years ago.

The land was left to go fallow until last year when the club put in a planning application for change of use on the site, a move which was taken by the remaining holders as a clear indication of intent to develop on the two-acre site.

City planners rejected the application in September, but the golfers appealed against the decision. Yesterday, the club announced it was withdrawing the appeal, giving fresh hope to the allotment holders that the lost land could now be returned back to use for growing.

Geoff Bainbridge, chairman of Billesley Lane Allotments Association, said: "This gives us a bit of hope that we may be able to get it back one day. It also sends a message to developers everywhere they can't take over allotment land because it will be protected under planning laws."

Mr Bainbridge said demand for allotment land was far greater in the local area than that for golfing.

"We have more people on waiting lists than we have tenants," he said.

"Most of the sites around here have large waiting lists. We have had huge community support. If you compare allotments and golf courses there is no comparison in terms of green issues and sustainability."

Allotment holder and campaigner Mark Jackson added: "The demand for allotments here is as high as it is anywhere in the country.

"If we couldn't defend it here it would be impossible to defend it anywhere."

Moseley Golf Club, which has about 400 members, last night said it had withdrawn the application after receiving legal advice.

Martin Knowles, club secretary, said: "The legal advice was we probably wouldn't win the appeal. We were advised not to proceed with it.

The land will probably have to go back to allotments. I am not sure what the long term plan is."

The club has got hundreds of members who live in the local area. We wanted to extend our practice facility and we can't do that now," said Mr Knowles. "It is a shame. We are not against the allotment holders. But locally there seem to be many allotments."