It may have taken 42 years but builder Derek Case can now celebrate getting planning permission for a bungalow

Wardy Hill (Coveney)

Wardy Hill (Coveney) - Credit: Archant

Retired builder Derek Case of March is celebrating victory after gaining permission to build a bungalow near Ely – 42 years after he bought the plot of land.

Land for planning on Jerusalem Drove. Wardy Hill.

Land for planning on Jerusalem Drove. Wardy Hill. - Credit: Archant

In that time he has faced countless rejections – including losing on appeal- but has finally won approval from East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Faced with officers’ recommendation to refuse, the planning committee voted to allow Mr Case, now 82, permission to build his bungalow in Jerusalem Drove, Wardy Hill.

Councillor Anna Bailey said: “I felt that this was a worthy case to come in front of the planning committee. The neighbours have not raised any objections to this application.”

Councillor Gareth Wilson said: “The neighbours are happy with it and the parish council doesn’t have any objections to it. I think it seems a very reasonable application.”

Planning for Jerusalem Drove. Wardy Hill.

Planning for Jerusalem Drove. Wardy Hill. - Credit: Archant

Councillor Bill Hunt said: “I don’t see how we can put the unsustainability rule on this property. I really think we are picking at things here and should take a different view.”

Councillor Tom Hunt said: “It looks odd a house not being there and a similar building to those already there might make it look a little bit better.

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“It is a two-bed bungalow and we need smaller housing units.”

Mr Case said after the meeting: “It’s a case of if at first you don’t succeed try, try and then try again.”

Derek Case

Derek Case - Credit: Archant

Since his first refusal in 1991 he has, according to the council’s files, withdrawn two other applications and been refused four times up until 2013.

Earlier this year Mr Case appealed directly to chief executive John Hill alleging he had been unfairly treated.

Mr Hill denied “any unsubstantiated personal animosity” and said the applications had been rejected on the grounds of the council’s policy on development in the countryside.

At this month’s planning committee officers said a bungalow on the site, whilst not resulting in “demonstrable harm on the character of the area may add to pressure for further development”.

They also claimed it would represent “unsustainable development” on a remote site and would increase traffic in the area.

Mr Case said he has built 48 homes in Cambridgeshire over the years and either restored or built four of them in Jerusalem Drive.

He said he acquired the site because a customer didn’t want a large garden and so, in 1972, he bought what was left after erecting a fence.

“I feel a huge weight has been lifted,” said Mr Case. “It has also taken me half my life to get what I consider an injustice rectified.”