THE ongoing dispute over building a £12m extra care home in Bedale took a new turn as an online inquiry into refusal of planning permission got underway.

Broadacres’ original plan for a major development at Easby’s Field at Queen Anne’s Drive with 59 apartments and facilities for extra care which involves the demolition of four bungalows is being scrutinised through the inquiry.

Local campaigners have objected to the development as a “monstrous scheme” which is in the wrong place and will increase road safety problems in an area already struggling to cope with existing traffic.

North Yorkshire county councillor for Bedale, Cllr John Weighell, told the town council which has consistently objected to the plans on that site that they risk losing the investment for elderly care in Bedale. He said: “I believe collectively you are doing the gravest disservice for elderly care in Bedale. If this extra care does not go ahead we will be the only substantial market town without such a facility. If this goes to Northallerton or Thirsk it would be an absolute disgrace.”

Town councillor John Howe replied: “There is not a single person on the council that doesn’t want to see an extra care facility in Bedale, but that is not the right site.”

Campaigners fear that the online inquiry is not giving them the chance to outline their concerns. Objector Simon Mason said: “Although residents and interested parties have been invited, and we have received the ‘how to connect’ to the Teams-based session, despite repeated requests, we have no agenda, no clarity on how our contributions should be shaped and no time frame for how long the appeal will take. So far it seems to be designed to accommodate the appellants and their planning consult friends who are all being paid to sit through it, whilst making it as difficult as possible for objectors and the general public to really have an impact.”

The inquiry started on Wednesday, it’s not known when it is due to finish.

A second very similar planning application for the scheme has also been refused by Hambleton District Council’s planning committee. Officers said: “The proposed development is considered to fail to respect the character, form and local distinctiveness of the settlement owing to the massing and design of the proposals. The proposed development is considered to constitute an over-development of the site.

“The proposed development will result in the loss of four affordable bungalows and the type of provision proposed is not considered appropriately to off-set this loss. The proposed development would alter vehicular movements in the area which would result in a harmful change to the residential character and amenity of the area.”