THE Mayor of Taunton Deane is hoping to block plans for a care home for people with dementia when they are debated.

Cllr Catherine Herbert has sent a strongly-worded statement opposing the development, off Harp Chase, Taunton, to the borough council's planning meeting on Wednesday (June 20).

Orchard Court Holdings has applied to demolish the 43-bedroom Orchard Court Nursing Home, which has been closed since 2016.

In its place, the company wants to build a 78-bed specialist dementia care home with associated parking for staff and visitors.

Despite a current surplus of care home beds in Somerset, the county council supports the idea of a facility that would enable "local residents living with dementia to remain local and maintain links to the community as opposed to being forced to live further away".

But Mrs Herbert believes the proposed building, which would be partly three-storeys high, would be "totally out of context and suitability" for the area.

She said: "As a residential area it is essential that a maximum of two standard storeys is maintained or the building will be overly imposing in its setting."

Other concerns expressed in some of the 37 letters of objection include the 'business park' appearance of the buildings, increased noise, light pollution and congestion, insufficient parking and impact on wildlife.

A spokesman for Orchard Court Holdings said the proposals would provide "contemporary care accommodation to modern standards and requirements" in an "attractive, quality building".

He added: "The proposals are well considered and articulate and in accordance with local planning policy, to create an attractive and environmentally appropriate response to the site and to the local area.

"The design responds to its location and its neighbours in an appropriate way.

"The development has been considered holistically, and presents attractive elevations from all angles."

An officer report to councillors recommends awarding conditional approval to the plans.

It said: "The existing building on the site is not considered suitable or viable for the continued nursing home use.

"The development increases the number of bedrooms on the site and the height and impact of the proposed building to ensure its future viability.

"The use is one that is identified as being in need and is in a sustainable location.

"The impact of the proposed building alterations on the surrounding area to secure a viable community use of the site are considered acceptable subject to conditions."