PLANS for a new 66-bed residential care home near Royal Wootton Bassett have been unanimously approved by Wiltshire Council’s strategic planners.

They granted permission for the development on land at Marsh Farm, Coped Hall, together with parking for 22 vehicles and upgraded access from Hook Road.

The go-ahead came despite strong objections from local residents, Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council.

Local ward member Cllr Mollie Groom had called in the plans for Leda Properties Ltd and Ideal Care Homes because of concerns about the scale of the development, its visual impact and its relationship to the historic Grade 2 listed Marsh Farm.

She also asked Wiltshire Council’s strategic planning committee to consider its design and its impact on the highways and the environment.

A previous hybrid application for a care home and a Lidl retail store was refused by Wiltshire Council and dismissed by the planning inspectorate in Bristol on appeal.

Cllr Groom said the proposed three-storey care home was “the wrong building in the wrong place” and would infill the greenfield buffer zone between Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.

She said it would have a significant impact on Marsh Farm, as well as Lydiard Millicent, the nearby village of Hook and the hamlets of Hook Street and Ballard’s Ash.

“There is a need to protect the distinct character and identity of the villages and settlements in Wiltshire and in particular those which adjoin the administration of Swindon Borough Council.”

Locals John Eastgate and Chris Wannell argued the new care home would cause flooding and drainage problems for the nearby Jubilee Lake and problems for pedestrians and traffic using the Malmesbury Road and Hook Road.

Cllr David Bowler, of Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council, said the development was outside the settlement framework.

“We are concerned that it will open up the land to further development,” he told the committee meeting in Chippenham yesterday.

But planners said the application was “materially different” to the previous hybrid scheme and that the benefits outweighed the objections.

Alistair Wood, planning manager for Yorkshire-based LNT Group, which includes Ideal Care Homes, said: “There is a clear and demonstrable need for more care home facilities in this area.

“There is a strong and positive need for the new facility, which will create 40-50 new full-time equivalent jobs for people from the local area.”