Town councillors have set up an off-the-record meeting with planning authority chiefs over a controversial scheme to build a five-storey extra care facility at the front door of a World Heritage Site.

The application for 45 homes and a 60-bed care unit on land off Plymouth Road in Tavistock, part of the Cornwall and West Devon World Heritage Site, has been submitted to West Devon Borough Council by Baker Estates.

Now Tavistock town councillors have engineered a meeting with planning authority West Devon Borough Council chief executive Andy Bates over the application. Town councillors were originally given until last Friday (January 8) to comment on the application, but that time period was extended until after their meeting with Mr Bates on January 21.

The meeting will be behind closed doors, but town councillors, who were given a presentation on the scheme by Baker Estates before Christmas which lasted for more than an hour, are expected to register their concerns of the size of the care unit proposal and fears over a lack of school spaces for residents of the new homes.

At their latest planning committee meeting, councillors declined to reach a decision on whether they were for or against the proposal until they met again following their discussions with Mr Bates.

However, they heard a raft of objections from residents had already been lodged with the borough council, who are expected to reach their own decision on the proposal next month.

They were also told concerns had been expressed by ‘green’ community group Transition Tavistock over potential traffic problems due to the number of new homes proposed in the Plymouth Road area.

Cllr Graham Parker told his committee colleagues that his research had indicated that the proposal did not gel with the Plymouth and South West local development plan.

He compared the care unit proposal with a similar scheme in Totnes, a five-story 60-bed unit and said the planning authority (West Devon Borough Council) had to satisfy itself that a building that large would fit onto the proposed site in Tavistock.

Cllr Parker said: ‘It wouldn’t look out of place in a city centre, but apart from a couple of churches, it would be the tallest building in Tavistock and they (the borough council) have got to satisfy themselves that is acceptable.’