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September 30, 2008 5:27 PM

Parklands Liberal Democrat councillors are backing local residents over a developer's plans to knock down a pub and build a residential care home.

Councillors John Shipley, Diane Packham and David Down are supporting local people who are opposing the scheme in Brunton Park.

More than 900 people are protesting at the plan to pull down the Royal George and build a care home, saying the pub is at the heart of the community.

The pub is among shops, a community centre, church and a clinic and is surrounded by houses.

Coun Shipley said: "I have examined the plans and have concluded that the building is too large for the site and encroaches too closely on neighbouring houses.

"I am also concerned that this proposed change of use will impact negatively on the local centre. The Royal George has been a fundamental part of Brunton Park's facilities - and North Gosforth's - since the estate was built.

"Communities need social spaces in which to meet. The Royal George has for many years provided just such a facility."

Coun Packham said: "I know of no demand for further residential care provision in the Gosforth area. In contrast, the Royal George is an essential element of the local centre."

Coun Down added: "The proposed development would be completely out of character with the centre of Brunton Park."

A planning application to build a two-storey, 46-bed residential care home will be considered at a meeting of Newcastle City Council's development control committee on Friday.

The pub closed in August and a planning application, from Hadrian Healthcare (NE) Ltd, says around £2.5m will be invested in the care home which would employ around 45 people.