PLANS to build 62 extra care retirement properties in Taunton have been approved despite concerns from councillors.

Developer, McCarthy and Stone, applied for planning permission to demolish buildings currently used by businesses to make way for 62 retirement properties in South Street.

Carla Fulgoni from McCarthy and Stone spoke to members of the council's planning committee on Wednesday (March 27) and said the developer has worked hard over the last few months to work with the community on the project and if approved the proposed development will be 'sensitive and attractive.'

She said: "The development will have staff on site 24 hours a day, 365 days a week and will provide support to the elderly who need help.

"There will be an onsite restaurant and bistro... and the neighbouring properties have been consulted.

Cllr Terence Hall said he is concerned local businesses at the site will have to pay up and find new premises if the plans are approved.

He said: "I went and visited the site on Tuesday and found that there are 16 businesses there.

"Businesses will have to relocate at their own expense and it is likely that more jobs will be lost than gained on the site from the development proposed.

"This site has been in use for hundreds of years and is highly contaminated - I do not believe it is suitable for a care home. It is too distant from the town centre."

But Cllr Danny Weddercopp said he thinks the development would be a good thing for Taunton in the long run and 'it will lift the visual amenity of the area.'

Cllr Ian Morrell voiced concerns about the scheme and said the loss of employment land 'hasn't been justified' by the developer.

He said: "I have the utmost admiration for McCarthy & Stone and the work they do. However the actual design appears to be less than aspirational.

"It's a long way to walk to Victoria Park or Vivary Park.

"One of the key problems we've had as an authority is the lack of starter units - this is the type of site which we could be losing if this is granted."

Councillors voted to approve the plans with with seven people voting for the plan and three voting against it.