A CARE home expansion will go ahead after a minister overruled a planning inspector.
Croftlands Nursing Home in Kirkburton wants to triple its capacity from 20 beds to 60.
Kirklees Council at first allowed the development, but the matter went to a planning inquiry in February.
Objectors, including Kirkburton and District Civic Society, raised concerns over the size of the extension and the fact that the site is in the Green Belt.
The inquiry was carried out by Karen Baker, who concluded that the development should not go ahead.
But she was over-ruled by Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears.
Maria Stasiak, the minister’s decision officer, has written to interested parties to explain the decision.
She said: “The minister considers that the need for care in the area and the provision of employment outweigh the harm to the Green Belt.”
The proposed extension is larger than the original nursing home, a former mill owner’s house in extensive grounds off Turnshaws Road.
Ms Stasiak noted that the extension would create 70 new jobs, half of them full-time.
She also said there was a need for more nursing home capacity in the area.
Ms Stasiak said: “There is a substantial shortfall of residential care beds within a four-mile radius, even taking into account the recently approved 40- bed care home at Storthes Hall.”
And she said the extension was designed to have minimal impact on the environment.
Ms Stasiak went on: “The minister agrees that substantial weight should be given to the fact that the development represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt.
“But she considers the impact to be moderate rather than significant, due to the design, siting and proposed materials of the extension.
“The site is also heavily wooded.”
Civic society chairman Richard Eddy was upset at the decision.
He said: “We’re very disappointed. The inspector spent all this time, effort and money on the inquiry, only for her decision to be overturned.
“The minister actually agreed with most of what the inspector said – but then came to the opposite conclusion.”
However, Mr Eddy said his organisation would not continue to oppose the expansion.
He said: “I don’t think there’s any more we can do.
“We don’t have the resources to appeal this decision in the High Court.”