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Plans for 170-home green belt retirement village in Bottisham granted on appeal

A new retirement village in Bottisham is set to be built despite it being labelled an “inappropriate development in the green belt”.

The developer, Axis Land Partnerships Ltd and Bottisham Farming Ltd, has won an appeal for the development, which is due to be built on land off High Street.

Illustrative image of the meadow proposed as part of the development. Picture: Axis Land Partnerships Ltd
Illustrative image of the meadow proposed as part of the development. Picture: Axis Land Partnerships Ltd

The planning inspector said they recognised the harm the development could cause to the countryside, but said there were “very special circumstances” to allow it to go ahead.

The plans propose to build up to 170 homes, 30 per cent of which would be made available as affordable housing. The developer said the majority of the existing land would not be built in, setting out plans for a park area.

However, the plans faced backlash from the community with 92 objections being lodged against the application.

Concerns raised included that the retirement village would be built on green belt land and there were existing care homes in the village.

The developer submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate due to non-determination, meaning the East Cambridgeshire District Council did not make a decision on the application within the required time period.

The council said it would have refused the application, arguing the very special circumstances to allow the development to go ahead in the green belt did not exist.

An inquiry was held in October last year and the planning inspector’s decision has now been published.

The inspector said there was “no dispute” that the retirement village would be an “inappropriate development in the green belt”. They said the “large-scale development” would cause “urban encroachment” and would have a “moderate negative effect” on the openness of the green belt.

The inspector said they recognised there were other “harms” as well, including on the character of the area and loss of agricultural land. However, the inspector said no alternative sites had been identified to build this kind of retirement village.

The inspector said the creation of new jobs would also be a benefit, as well as the development leading to around 113 homes being “released” back into the market following older people moving into the retirement village.

They concluded that the benefits of the development were enough to outweigh the harm and conflict with planning policies.

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit publicnoticeportal.uk

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