Councillors may be forced to approve previously rejected plans for a huge retirement complex after they stripped land of its Green Belt status.

Last year Epping Forest District councillors binned proposals to build 105 retirement flats on land west of Froghall Lane, south of Chigwell Cemetery.

Even after contributions of £488,526 for affordable housing in the district, £105,000 towards the running cost of the Chigwell Hoppa Bus and £24,909 for health care services were tabled, the four storey buildings were deemed too imposing for the site.

Add to such concerns 269 letters from residents opposing the build, and the application died in the water.

However, in December councillors approved the district Local Plan and with it outline permission for a housing development on land at Froghall Lane, which would lose its Green Belt status if the document is finalised in the coming months.

Through a near identical application to that rejected last year, developers PegasusLife has jumped at the opportunity to build once restrictive red tape is stripped away, arguing the area has a shortage of specialist care accommodation.

Its application reads: “The case for planning positively for specialist accommodation for extra care is utterly compelling and the need to allocate sites in the district for this use is vitally important.

“In the case of Epping Forest and specifically Extra Care accommodation within Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton, the need is very high and the supply is extremely low.

“The document sets out the level of need for care within Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton and demonstrates that there is a shortfall of 220 units of Extra Care style accommodation to meet current need, rising to 254 units by 2020.”

If given permission, PegasusLife – which is owned by investment firm Oaktree Capital Management - would build 105 one and two bedroom flats, a ‘health and wellbeing centre’ and a library, with construction starting in winter 2018 or spring 2019.

A gym, restaurant and cinema would also be provided, alongside 132 parking spaces and communal gardens.

The build would bring 26 full time jobs to the area plus contracted construction work.

A further key component of the application is the transfer of land to the north of the site to Chigwell Cemetery, which is run by the parish council.

The application continues “The cemetery has 24 years of capacity remaining and the proposal would provide up to a 200 per cent increase in capacity delivering a total of around 47 years’ capacity, securing the long term future of the local community’s burial needs.”