PLANNING permission for a new 27 bed residential care home has been narrowly approved by the southern area committee.

The application split the committee - with five councillors in favour and five against - and chairman, Cllr Fred Westmoreland used his casting vote to settle the matter.

The care home will be built at Fowler’s Hill, which is part of the Salisbury conservation area, and will see the demolition of a Victorian era town house.

During a fierce debate Cllr Chris Devine argued the need for residential care homes took precedent over the historic interests of the area.

He said: “The benefits to the public of building a new residential care home should be taken into consideration.

“There are also 10 new jobs that will be created so there is a vested public interest in building this care home.”

The home was opposed by the Labour members of the committee and Cllr Ian McLennan said more should be done to protect the city’s historic buildings.

“Officers seem happy to nod these commercial developments through,” he said.

“Do they have to develop a building that is in a conservation area?”

Cllr McLennan also questioned figures relating to the need for more residential care homes by 2026, saying that other developments already planned would be sufficient.

Cllr Westmoreland said the building is due to be demolished, is not integral to the area and described it “as infill from the original development”.

Local company Wessex Care, which provides care services on the council’s behalf, is behind the plan.

It already runs residential care services at number 2 Fowler’s Hill and wants to demolish the neighbouring property, rebuilding a second care home in its place. Councillors praised the work of Wessex Care and, with Cllr Westmoreland’s casting vote, agreed to allow the development to proceed.