PROPOSALS to create 14 homes in a conservation area are expected to be approved despite a series of objections from residents.

Almost 50 people have raised objections to the plan for a site in Blakey Lane, Sowerby, near Thirsk, and two meetings were also held to allow them to air their complaints.

However, Hambleton officials insist the scheme meets the requirements of their planning policies and are urging councillors to back the project when they meet next week.

At present, the site is occupied by a detached bungalow set in large gardens with trees, hedgerows and a number of garages and outbuildings.

The authority's development control committee first supported the proposals in August, subject to revisions, including the provision of public open space.

The parish council, which was initially against the scheme, has now changed its mind following the revisions and wants to see the project approved.

Forty-nine letters of objection have been submitted by neighbours and residents, who want to see the scheme blocked for a variety of reasons, such as road safety issues, a change in the character of the conservation area and the over-development of the site.

They are also unhappy about the demolition of a 19th Century barn, the loss of trees and hedgerow and the destruction of the "rural nature" of Blakey Lane.

The objectors say the development would ruin a beautiful and unspoilt area and could set a precedent.

But in a detailed report, Hambleton's planning director, Steve Quartermain, said: "It is accepted that the proposal will change the appearance of the conservation area.

"It is considered, however, that this will not be to the detriment of the character of the area."

He added: "The proposed layout of the development and traditional design of the dwellings ensures that this proposal satisfactorily respects the character and appearance of the conservation area.

"The proposal is satisfactory in highway safety terms. Additional landscaping is proposed and there will be minimal impact upon neighbours' amenities.