A developer has asserted councillors got it wrong when they turned down a plan to build 215 homes – while an objector accused the company of using a “spurious” argument.

Mandale Homes’ plan to build homes on fields at Mount Leven Farm, Leven Bank Road, Yarm, was rejected by Stockton Council’s planning committee by a 5-4 vote last December after it received more than 100 objections and 23 letters of support.

Mandale Homes is now appealing against the decision, with a government-appointed inspector to hear from both sides on May 16.

The developer has now put forward its case in a statement, saying: “Given the amount of time and effort that the appellant had expended on amending the proposed development to meet the concerns of the council, the appellant was disappointed by this refusal.

“Planning permission should be granted without delay,” urges the company, saying the reasons given for refusing the plan failed to take proper account of changes made, consider “compelling evidence” or reflect the expert advice of council officers who had recommended approval of the scheme. It adds that officers concluded the proposed reasons for refusal would be “undefendable”.

The developer asked for permission to build 180 houses and 35 bungalows in four “villages” on the 12.6 hectares of farmland. The council refused the proposed development on the grounds it did not meet the needs of the ageing population, would harm the character and appearance of the area and green space, and the Mount Leven roundabout was confusing, unsafe and unsuitable.

Mandale Homes maintains its plan complies with policy “by delivering a range and type of housing appropriate to needs and addressing shortfalls in provision”, including housing to meet the needs of the ageing population and people with specific needs, providing “accessible and adaptable housing”.

Planning permission was previously given for a retirement village with 332 homes, a 68-bed nursing home and facilities including a tennis court, bowling green, community hall and convenience store across seven villages. The homes originally had to be occupied by at least one person aged 55 or over in a household, but the developer says this is “ineffective in practice” and councillors made a “flawed assumption” about the need for such a restriction: “It is our firm opinion that this interpretation by members is wrong… We consider that there is no merit in the members’ reasoning.”

The developer says access was found to be fit for purpose and the traffic impact of the scheme considered negligible by council highway specialists. It suggests the reason given over the landscape was “added at the very last minute”, arguing there would be localised but not significant or unacceptable impact.

It says the proposals will create much-needed housing in Yarm, fill a need for affordable housing on a residential development site, support 666 jobs, generate almost £2.6m in tax revenue, help the delivery of a large country park and “result in no unacceptable impacts upon the character and significance of Yarm”. It concludes: “The principle of development on the appeal site should be supported and there are no justifiable planning reasons to withhold planning permission.”

In response, objector Michael Brazell argues the proposed housing would deliver the “complete opposite” of the essential and specialist care facilities to support the elderly in the previous plans for a retirement village. He says accessibility in the proposed houses “can only be described as limited” and future adaptability “cannot be considered specific to help the ageing population”.

He adds in his statement: “This is an isolated site on the outskirts of Yarm without any proposed on-site facilities where the nearest shop and bus route will be nearly half a mile away for most elderly and reduced mobility residents. The elderly would in my opinion be discouraged to move to such a development because of the lack of connectivity alone.

“The Local Plan is very clear in what is required for the whole of this isolated site, it is a self-contained retirement village as originally proposed and in my opinion nothing else.”

Another objector has given a “rebuttal” to the developers’ statement, making comment on a proposed footway at Mount Leven Bank, land ownership, use of the roundabout, pedestrian and cycling facilities, bus services and road safety.