DUNSTER'S Water Mill Tea Rooms has been given the green light for a two-storey extension and providing an extra 50 seats.

The historic Water Mill Tea Room is run by the National Trust which sought permission to up the number of indoor seats as it says the current tea room is 'impractical and inadequate to meet demand'.

The application will also see improvements to the kitchen as well as improved access and facilities for disabled people.

The National Trust says it has gone to great effort to ensure the extension will be in keeping with the medieval village and its heritage.

Dunster Parish Council said it would support the proposals provided the staff used the National Trust car park and not public parking, and an independent economic survey was carried out.

However the plans have been met with criticism from some local residents.

Overall 12 objections were submitted and two letters of support from the public.

Concerns were raised over the impact the extended cafe would have on other businesses in the village, arguing that because the tea room is 'away from the heart of the village' at Mill Lane, visitors to the castle would not be encouraged to visit the rest of the village if the extension was granted.

Supporters said it would be a big benefit in the winter as most the current seating at the Water Mill Tea Room is outside, and that the improved access for disabled people would be very welcome.

The National Trust argue that Dunster Castle operates at a loss in the winter months to provide a year-round visitor destination, but says to encourage winter visits to the site the need to provide the facilities people expect.

The plans were approved on Tuesday, April 2 by the Exmoor National Park Authority subject to a wildlife condition.