Four large family homes which looked set to be turned down have been given approval after councillors ignored Fenland District planning team’s advice to refuse the scheme.

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The plan for the executive properties was given the go ahead as they were seen as suitable development that would not have a negative impact on neighbouring St Mary’s Church in Westry next door.

The historic church, which has been rebuilt after a fire nearly four years ago has been called a building with “no particularly outstanding features” by the couple who want to build the four executive homes next door.

The statement forms part of a heritage document submitted to Fenland District Council’s planning team as among reasons why the scheme should be given the go-ahead.

St Mary’s Church was destroyed by a fire in March 2010. Since then hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent by restoration specialists to bring the 19th century building back to its former glory.

Now, the couple have been given the green light to develop the land next door which is currently being used as a lawn and paddock.

The homes consist of two three-storey homes with seven bedrooms and two two-storey homes with four bedrooms south of Westry Hall in Wisbech Road.

Planners say the church on the outskirts of March is of significance and in a report say the Grade II listed building is “well detailed, constructed of good quality materials and sits well on its site”.

The report adds that it is “a good example of modest Victorian church architecture” with good views of the church and associated trees in either direction.

Planners were set to refuse the idea, saying it was contrary to planning guidelines, but councillors accepted the plan and gave it their consent in a recent meeting.

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