A retired couple have finally received permission to finish building their dream retirement home after a ruling against Braintree Council at the Court of Appeal.

Mr and Mrs Knowles have been living in rented accommodation for two years while the council pursued a costly campaign against the development of two bungalows in Blackmore End.

Braintree Council lost its case in the court after challenging the appeal decision of the Secretary of State, and taxpayers will now have to pay a £10,000 bill for court costs.

Matthew Firth, managing director of housebuilders Granville Developments, said: “We have tried to comply with the council’s requests at every stage and implored them to cease action given the delay has caused Mr and Mrs Knowles to live in temporary, rented accommodation while waiting to retire to one of our homes.

“The council has wasted untold sums of money fighting its own case despite robust arguments that their case was fundamentally flawed - as was found to be the case by the Court of Appeal last week.

“They are also now shouldering the costs and have incurred losses to Granville and unnecessary additional expenditure to Mr and Mrs Knowles who have been burdened with the cost of rent and storage for two years.”

Initially permission was granted for the homes to be built on the site of a former cow shed in 2014.

However following amendments to the plans, permission was withdrawn and Granville was instructed to return the site to a field.

A retrospective application was then submitted for the two dwellings, which was won by Granville at appeal.

After the appeal, during which an inspector found no harm would be caused to the area, the council choose to pursue a claim in the High Court, which it lost.

Despite already facing one large court bill Braintree Council appealed again to the Court of Appeal - which it also lost.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: “We are obviously disappointed the appeal was dismissed.

“However, our main concern with the original decision was an overly rigid interpretation of national planning policy by the High Court which would have harmed our ability to manage inappropriate development in the countryside.

“We are pleased to see in the Court of Appeal judgment a reflection of our concerns and an acknowledgement that development should be focused on settlements rather than just close to other buildings.

“We are therefore pleased this key element of our case was successful.”

The court has awarded a total of £10,447 of costs against the council during the course of the case.