Integrated retirement community and affordable housing Bottisham, Cambridgeshire
Axis Land Partnerships
Planning & Development
Bottisham, Cambridgeshire
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Appeal success for Integrated Retirement Community (IRC) in the Cambridge Green Belt on behalf of Axis Land Partnerships.

The scheme entails an IRC delivering 14,335m² of Class C2 accommodation, equating to approximately 170 housing-with-care dwellings, a central facilities building, 30% affordable housing, car parking, landscaping and means of access. In addition, the project delivers an extensive area of public open space for wider village use.

In the context of an acute need for housing with care for the elderly in East Cambridgeshire, a planning application was made for an Integrated Retirement Community and related uses, including affordable housing at a policy compliant level of 30%. The site is located in the Cambridge Green Belt, on the edge of the settlement of Bottisham, approximately 6 miles north-east of Cambridge.

The application was not determined by the Local Planning Authority, East Cambridgeshire District Council, and an appeal was therefore lodged against non-determination.

Following a public inquiry held in October 2023, Inspector M Woodward granted consent for the scheme in February 2024, deciding that Carter Jonas and Axis had demonstrated Very Special Circumstances justifying the grant of planning permission. This was in spite of identified harm to the Green Belt, to the landscape setting of Bottisham and to heritage assets, however the acute need for elderly persons housing, and the absence of alternative sites coming on stream justified the grant of permission.

The Inspector criticised the LPA for a failure to make adequate provision for this type of specialist housing, with an absence of site allocations in the Local Plan, and no evidence of delivery from C3 market housing projects.

Carter Jonas provided all of the planning evidence, the overall case management, and the Alternative Sites Assessment. 

With permission having now been granted, Axis will select a preferred IRC operator and will dispose of the site before Reserved Matters are applied for. Scheme delivery is expected to commence in late 2024, subject to those Reserved Matters. 

Environmental, economic and social impact of the project

The scheme delivers a number of positive environmental, economic and social impacts. These include: 

  • Provision of much-needed older people's accommodation, delivering improved health outcomes and reduced loneliness
  • Provision of 8.6% biodiversity net gain
  • Provision of a significant area of public open space for village use
  • Release of market housing as older people vacate existing family housing stock
  • Delivery of affordable housing
  • Job creation during construction and at the operational phase of the IRC 


Integrated retirement community
Illustrative masterplan
Grassy field
Grassy field soon to be a meadow
Integrated retirement community
Sustainable drainage
Depiction of completed integrated retirement community
Character areas