AN extra care complex dubbed 'monstrous' and 'a danger' by residents has been backed by planning officers who say the benefits outweigh the problems.

Residents and campaigners in Bedale warn the £12.5m scheme would tower over the area, creating traffic chaos on one of the busiest roads in the town where people already "take their life in their hands".

Hambleton District Council’s planning committee is now being recommended by officers to grant the application for the complex by Broadacres Housing Association when they meet on January 9.

The plan is to demolish four existing bungalows and remove trees to build a 59 apartment extra care complex, on a brownfield site at the rear of Queen Anne’s Drive, off Firby Road.

More than 90 people have written letters of objection, many supporting the idea of the complex but protesting that it is in the wrong place. Bedale Town Council has also opposed the application.

Planning officer Helen Laws said in her report: "The application site is allocated for housing and as such the principle of development is accepted. "The loss of trees along with the overall scale of the built form proposed result in harmful impacts that weigh against the proposed development.

"However, in the absence of significant harm in terms of road safety or residential amenity the benefits of the scheme in terms of the provision of much needed, affordable, extra care accommodation are considered to weigh heavily in favour of the proposed development."

Resident Michelle Hare said it was 'horrendous planning.'

She said: "It’s chaos as it is getting up and down Firby road. Pulling out is taking your life into your hands at certain times. Crossing any of those roads as a pedestrian is incredibly scary.

"Queen Anne’s Drive is even worse as once everyone parks, it is a single lane road. There are much better areas to build. It’s for the elderly, so a field on the bypass where an ambulance can get access would be much easier than fighting to get up Queen Anne’s Drive. For everyone’s safety, don’t build on this site."

Richard Lyons said: "Firby Road is already over burdened and congested with no safe crossing place on Firby Road or Masham Road."

"I have concerns for children walking to and from school and children who play on the street when heavy goods vehicles will be using these routes. The site is already at an elevated location and will be viewed due to its excessive size from many areas in the town. I do not believe any further public amenities should be built in the Firby road area due to traffic chaos and parking difficulties and this build should be sited elsewhere."