Councillors said they were “torn” but after a lengthy debate gave the care home proposal their “unanimous” support despite dozens of public objections.

Less than a year after a similar scheme for a 100-bed care home and nine houses on Racecourse Road in East Ayton was rejected by councillors, the Scarborough and Whitby area planning committee has decided to approve the plans.

At a meeting on Thursday, November 9, committee members held a lengthy deliberation and heard from representatives of those supporting and objecting to the proposal which has gone to appeal since its original refusal in March.

Past concerns about the size of the project, its impact on the local community, and a lack of transport links for potential employees and residents were raised, and councillors also noted that the new application only had “minor” differences.

At the meeting, councillors were advised that approval of the proposal would likely lead to the appeal being dropped.

In a written statement sent to the committee, Coun David Jeffels said: “There is much local concern about this scheme, especially in relation to its impact on the local infrastructure, highway access on to Racecourse Road, and the level of accommodation for older people compared to that of speculative housing.”

Coun Heather Phillips, who is chair of the local parish council, attended the meeting to speak against the motion, stating that the development was of “great local concern” and cited a report by the NHS Integrated Care Board which said the development would have “an impact on the existing local healthcare provision in the vicinity of the site”.

However, speaking on behalf of the applicant, Paul Sedgwick, said that the committee’s previous refusal was based on the lack of a transport plan and the design of the building and that the applicant had since “significantly modified the impact of the care building by changing the roof”.

Mr Sedgwick also said that the framework for a travel plan had now been provided.

He added that the capacity of the care home could not be reduced because “there is a need for it” as well as citing economic reasons.

Derek Rowell, a member of East Ayton Parish Council, also attended to speak against the proposal, raising concerns about “incomplete consultations” and “validation issues”.

He also reiterated concerns about transport issues and the style and scale of the proposal as reasons for refusing the care home.

Coun Subash Sharma said he thought the application should have been approved the first time, but noted the current appeal and said he was “perturbed” by the applicant’s decision to re-seek approval with “such minor matters”.

Other members said Coun Sharma made “important points” but added that the design had been improved with the new application.

Although councillors said they were “torn”, the proposal was granted unanimous approval by the area planning committee.