News release from 07/02/2022

Council responds to Retirement Village planning legal challenge

Leading Councillors say they are disappointed that the Planning Inspectorate has allowed plans for a retirement village in protected countryside to progress.

In April 2021, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee refused proposals for a retirement care village and associated facilities on land between Haverhill Road and Hinton Way in Stapleford. The developers behind the application appealed against this decision and, following that appeal, the Council’s decision has been overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Council said that the new building would be an unjustified inappropriate development that is harmful to the Cambridge green belt. The refusal was also based upon the Council’s view that the plans did not reflect the local area. The Council’s Planning Committee agreed with officers’ recommendations that the provision of a new park and meeting the needs of accommodation of this type did not amount to the very special circumstances that justified building in this location. Concerns about the impact on transport links were also raised.

However, the Planning Inspectorate disagreed with the Council’s conclusions and has overruled the decision and granted planning permission for the development.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Dr.Tumi Hawkins, said: “We are naturally disappointed by the Planning Inspectorate’s decision, but at the same time we must note the different balance the Planning Inspector struck and we are bound to accept their decision. We were very clear in the reasons that we gave for our refusal and did not feel that the very special circumstances outlined by the developer justified this scheme. However, we do not plan to challenge the decision because the Inspector was very clear in their view which means the likelihood of a successful challenge is greatly reduced.”