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, won its appeal for the 170-home development, which is due to be built on land off the High Street to the east of the village.

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 proposed to build up to 170 homes in the retirement village, 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 proposals for a park area to be created.

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

Some of the concerns raised included that the retirement village would be built on green belt land, with others highlighting that 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 district council said it would have refused the application, arguing the very special circumstances did not exist to allow the development to go ahead on green belt land.

An inquiry was held in October last year where a planning inspector was able to examine the proposals and the objections.

The planning inspector’s decision has now been published where they conclude that the development can go ahead.

The inspector said there was “no dispute” that the new 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: “In terms of planning balance, the scheme would result in definitional harm, it being a form of inappropriate development in the green belt.

“There would be significant harm to its spatial openness and a moderate effect on visual openness as well as conflict with one of the five green belt purposes in terms of encroachment.

“In accordance with the framework, I attribute substantial weight to this green belt harm.”

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.

They said: “This leads me to conclude that the identified acute extra care housing needs are unlikely to be released over the plan period.

“This proposal would make a significant and meaningful contribution to addressing the need for older people’s extra care housing, a matter which attracts very substantial eight in favour.”

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.

The inspector said they considered there were “very special circumstances” to allow this development in the green belt.