OCCUPANTS of a retired-nurses home have been left “very disappointed” after councillors reluctantly approved a scheme for an office and healthcare development.

Opponents to Troika Development’s scheme to build almost 25,000sqm of office accommodation at Riverside Avenue, Littledown, had hoped the developer’s reapplication for outline planning permission would be turned down by Monday night’s planning board.

Troika won planning permission on appeal three years ago but failed to begin building work, forcing them to reapply.

Its permission to build a park-and-ride scheme does not expire for another two years.

James Cain, representing the Retired National Nurses Home at Riverside Avenue, said there was “strong local opposition” to the proposal and added that there was “a significant risk” of sustained noise.

Ray O’Luby, area forum deputy chairman, said there is already “a surplus of empty offices in Bournemouth”.

Martin Miller, representing Troika, said the scheme was “exactly the same as that previously approved”.

The noise levels are considered acceptable by council environmental health officers, he said.

Bournemouth council planning officer Barry Carse said the secretary of state had considered any noise issues could be dealt with by imposing planning conditions later.

“We accept that this application is unpopular but the arguments heard today are the same arguments heard at the public inquiry in 2007,” he said.

If it was turned down, the council could find itself facing “substantial costs” if it was later granted on appeal, he said.

Cllr Nick King said it would be like “living in a prison on three sides” while building work was going on.

Cllr Ron Whittaker said there were no “planning policy reasons” to turn the scheme down.

Speaking afterwards, a 78-year-old resident of the home said: “We are very disappointed. We are going to be surrounded by four-storey buildings. At the moment we appear to live in beautiful countryside.”