Developers have been given the go-ahead to build a 68-bed care home in Totnes despite being told their “socking great building” looks like a “monolith” that will ruin one of the town’s trademark views.

Gibraltar-based Luna Rock Ltd already has permission to build a home on the sloping site overlooking the River Dart with the same number of beds from 2018.

But the company came back to South Hams Council asking permission for a slightly taller building in places, which will cater for the same number of people with better accommodation and an ‘exemplary’ design.

Neil McTaggart, whose home overlooks the site off Steamer Quay Road, said the new application was completely different from the one which was given consent six years ago.

He said construction traffic would cause congestion and pollution.

And, he said: “It’s monolithic, and it dominates the space rather than blending into the hillside.

“It is totally out of keeping with Totnes.”

Totnes Town Council member Tim Bennett said his council opposed the new scheme, which went beyond what he and his colleagues thought was acceptable.

Cllr Georgina Allen (Green, Totnes) said she was concerned about over-development of the site and the stability of the ground beneath.

She added: “What used to be a very beautiful entrance to Totnes, from the river, has changed enormously.

“You are coming into a beautiful medieval town and it is already overdeveloped. I supported the original scheme, which had taken real care to blend in. This one just seems a retrograde step.”

Cllr Jacqi Hodgson (Green, Dartington and Staverton) called the scale ‘unneighbourly’. and suggested the developers move heavy materials to and from the site by river barge.

Cllr Simon Rake (Lib Dem, Blackawton and Stoke Fleming) said it was a ‘socking great building’, and Cllr Victor Abbott (Lib Dem, Ivybridge East) said he was sure Luna Rock would ensure their excavations did not cause any more damage.

“In 2024 there are people needing housing. That’s just where we are in life,” he said.

Cllr Hodgson’s move to refuse the application was defeated, and the committee passed the plan by six votes to three.

How the new home will look (Luna Rock Ltd/South Hams Council)