Successful planning appeal for much-needed specialised older person housing and 50-acre countryside park
Date of Article
Feb 11 2022
Planning & Development

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@ Matthew Hare
Matthew Hare
01223 326544 email me about Matthew

Matt is an Associate based in Cambridge and is a Chartered Town Planner with more than 10 years’ planning experience in both the public and private sector. Matt’s main area of expertise lies in development management and he has prepared and secured planning permission for all types and size of development proposals ranging from householder extensions to strategic residential and commercial schemes. Accordingly Matt’s Project Management skills are highly developed with respect to the preparation and submission of planning applications. Matt’s past experience in the public sector has meant that he has acted as an Expert Witness at Planning Inquiry and is well experienced with the wider appeals process in general. Matt also has experience working in the field of conservation and thus is able to advise clients in respect of development proposals affecting listed buildings and heritage assets.

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Acting on behalf of Axis Land Partnerships Ltd, the Carter Jonas Eastern Planning Team has secured outline planning permission on appeal for a significant retirement village facility and countryside park on the edge of the village of Stapleford in Cambridgeshire. The retirement village will provide extra care housing and associated care, leisure and health & wellbeing facilities for older people (as defined within national planning policy).

The countryside park will deliver approximately 21ha of public access green space on the edge of the village spanning between Haverhill Road and Histon Road. The masterplan and design vision for the scheme was produced by Carter Jonas’ Masterplanning Team.

The site falls entirely within the Cambridge Green Belt and the development proposals were initially refused by South Cambridgeshire District Council principally on the grounds of conflict between the retirement village element of the proposals and national and local planning policies concerning development within Green Belt land, but also on grounds of alleged landscape and character harm. 
Working alongside an expert team including; Carter Wood, Applied Ecology and The Landscape Partnership, and led by Matthew Reed QC (Landmark Chambers), Carter Jonas provided project management and expert witness services to the appeal, which was considered by way of a public inquiry; the outcome of which was the overturning of the Council’s reasons for refusal and approval of the scheme. 
Matt Hare, Partner at Carter Jonas and central to the appeal team, commented: “We are naturally delighted with the result. The scheme has so many overt benefits including massive biodiversity enhancements arising from the substantial provision of new chalk grassland habitats and significant social and recreational benefits to the area, and these, added to the demonstrable need for older people’s accommodation in the area coupled with the absence of a proactive strategy in the development plan to address such need, combined to make a powerful case for the delivery of the scheme in this location. Green Belt policy rightly has to be considered seriously, but the policy is very deliberately designed to allow schemes which can demonstrate clear and convincing benefits such as was the case for Axis at Stapleford”.
Phil Grant, Managing Director at Axis Land Partnerships Ltd, commented: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the appeal decision. We have been committed to the delivery of a retirement village and countryside park in this location for a number of years and our vision is that the scheme will be hugely beneficial in social and environmental terms”