CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new care home next door to Hermitage Park will be decided at a public hearing, councillors have decided – after more than 50 people objected to the proposal.

But planning officials from Argyll and Bute Council say that Simply UK’s application for a 64-bedroom facility should be approved – if only because there are “no reasonable grounds” to refuse them.

The application to build on the former council-owned depot site next door to the park went before members of the local authority’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee in Lochgilphead on Wednesday.

The committee decided to endorse an officer’s recommendation that a public hearing should be held to determine the fate of the plans.

READ MORE: 'No grounds to refuse' controversial care home plan, say council officials

No date or venue has yet been decided for the hearing, though members of the committee will also hold a site visit prior to the hearing taking place.

The original planning application to develop the site was withdrawn in July, with revised proposals submitted shortly afterwards.

But since then the council has received more than 50 objections to the revised application, many of them from residents of neighbouring Prince Albert Terrace, who say the scale of the building will have a negative effect on their homes.

Several objectors have raised concern at the impact of the proposed building on the nearby A-listed war memorial garden and monument in Hermitage Park.

READ MORE: New care home 'should be on the edge of Helensburgh', neighbours say

In an assessment of the application, a council planning officer said: “Given that the proposal sits approximately 70 metres to the west of the asset, the proposal would not interrupt views to the monument at any point within the park, nor will it affect the view of the park itself when viewed from within the memorial garden.

“The proposed development, subject to the safeguarding conditions, is considered to be acceptable and consistent with policies contained in the Argyll and Bute local development plan and there are no reasonable grounds to recommend refusal.”