AMBITIOUS plans to convert a former orphanage into a care home have been given the go-ahead.

The proposals for Templedean Hall were met with 20 objections from members of the public but East Lothian Council’s planning department has approved the plans, meaning they will not go before councillors.

The development from Knowe Properties Limited will see the building, which closed its doors more than a decade ago, turned into a 60-bedroom en-suite care home.

Concerns included a lack of parking on the site, with fears that it would result in people parking on neighbouring streets, as well as the extra traffic exiting from Templedean Park onto Herdmanflatt.

The planning officer’s report reads: “Some of the objectors also state that Templedean Hall has struggled to attract a sustainable use for the last 10 years and its derelict state is an eyesore for local residents.

“They state that whilst they are happy to see the building get a new lease of life, they are mainly concerned with the transport and parking provisions that the proposals raise, especially on the safety of children playing within the grassed open space area on the east side of Templedean Park.”

The building dates back to 1893 and various non-original structures at the building would be removed during the process to bring the building back to life.

A “substantial” extension would be built and feature a glass corridor.

Documents included with the planning application note the precarious position the building finds itself in as it has reached “a crucial point in its history” and requires “major intervention”.

A feasibility study was carried out last year to assess the costs associated with the reuse of the building for either office or residential use.

It found that the overall costs for conversion to office use would be about £2.1 million, with the residential cost estimated at about £2.6 million.

The planning officer’s report adds: “The supporting statement goes on to state that, taking into account that the building is not commercially viable for reuse, there is a case for the building to be demolished.

“Alternatively, converting the building and incorporating additional floor space would allow the building and the site as a whole to be utilised to its full potential.

“It states that the care home proposals have been adjusted to lighten the overall structure, with changes made to the dimensions of the extensions, to make it clear where the existing building ends and the new extensions begin.”

The building was used as a girls’ home until the 1970s, when it was converted into a nursing home.

Templedean Hall remained in use as a nursing home until 2007, when it closed.

Drawings of the new care home show 30 en-suite rooms on the ground floor, with facilities including lounges and a hairdressing area.

The first floor would feature another 30 en-suite bedrooms and an area for diversional therapy.

East Lothian Council’s approval of the scheme comes on the heels of another 60-bed care home in the town being given the go-ahead.

A care home and children’s nursery were approved off Gateside Road, on the western side of the town, in August.