Councillors have decided to back proposals for a new development in Lichfield.
A report to the planning committee at Lichfield District Council had recommended the Friel Homes scheme on Beacon Street be rejected.
The development would see new homes and a boutique hotel created on land surrounding the former Angel Croft Hotel.
However, concerns over the impact on nearby historic sites within the conservation area had been raised by planning officers.
But Cllr Andy Smith, Leomansley ward representative on the council, told the meeting that a balance needed to be struck.
“I’ve never seen such support for a development in the heart of the city.
“There have been no objection letters. The main reason for refusal appears to be our own heritage officer and Historic England – but the question is balance.
“Historic England say the authority needs to weigh up heritage concerns with the public and economic benefit of the development.
“I think our planners have failed to take that balance into account. – I urge the committee to move the scales back in the correct direction.
“This will replace a pot-holed, unmaintained car park with an excellent development that fits in very well.”Cllr Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council
“Any harm is outweighed by the public benefit”
Other councillors also questioned whether the balance between the historic nature of the city and the need for new developments had been struck.
Cllr Paul Ray, Chadsmead ward councillor, said:
“Conservation issues are important especially in an area like Lichfield, but I don’t see the harm here to those heritage assets from this development.
“Any harm is outweighed by the public benefit. Towns and cities have to progress, develop and innovate in an aesthetically sympathetic way.
“This development does that.”Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council
Following a lengthy discussion on the proposals – and the planning officer’s report – councillors voted unanimously to approve the development in principle, with some conditions still to be decided at a further meeting in March.