A new care home will be built on the A358 near Ilminster – just a few hundred yards from an existing nursing home.

Chris Churchill has successfully applied to build a 24-bed residential home on the site of the former Lamb Inn public house in Horton Cross, near the Shell petrol station.

The site lies on the eastern side of the main road linking Chard with the A303, less than a mile from the busy Ilminster roundabout.

District councillors voted on Wednesday evening (June 20) to go against their own officers’ recommendations, and approve the outline plans, despite concerns over the speed of traffic and the lack of nearby amenities.

The plans came before South Somerset District Council’s area west committee, which deals with all significant applications relating to Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster and the surrounding villages.

Mr Churchill had previously been granted planning permission for the site in 2009, after the pub had been demolished, but he had not followed through on construction.

His agent, Robin Bryer, said the plans were identical to those passed previously.

He said: “It is not sustainable to have a brownfield site, but it is sustainable to have a care home in such a location for its largely housebound residents.”

Marc Dorfman, the council’s special planning advisor, argued that a nursing home should be based closer to local amenities.

He said: “A residential care home ought to be located nearer to a town centre, with a range of facilities.”

He claimed that he had seen motorists “speed on the A358 at quite a lick”, and that residents of the nearby Horton Cross Nursing Home had to be “wheeled along a very dangerous road” to reach the Monks Yard coffee shop nearby.

Somerset County Council’s highways team did not raise any objection to the plans, and Mr Dorfman said that the scale of the development would not be significant enough to secure either a crossing or traffic light on which he described as “a tortuous and treacherous bend”.

He added: “It is an isolated location. We are concerned that (a) it may not work and (b) it may signal that there is an area for significant development. We don’t think it’s appropriate – it’s not sustainable.”

Councillor Linda Vijeh – whose Nerorche ward includes Horton Cross – said that the petrol station and the nearby village of Donyatt would provide ample amenities for the care home’s occupants.

She said: “In terms of facilities, this location is better served than many of the communities within the area for which we actually grant planning permission.

“As a brownfield site I don’t think we’re in a position to leave it undeveloped.”

Councillor Martin Wale agreed, stating that the petrol station had a good range of products and joking that the residents “will be able to access the new KFC when it opens.”

Councillor Andrew Turpin disagreed, citing the lack of public transport to the nearby villages.

He said: “It is not a sustainable location – there is one bus a day taking students to college, and then one later on bringing them back.

“I don’t see how you could sustain life there other than with a car. You could not cycle it, because it is a ghastly road.”

The committee voted by nine to two to approve the plans. A reserved matters application, which will include fine details of the layout and design of the building, will be brought forward at a later date.