Plans to build 58 holiday lodges and a 16-bedroom extension at Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club in Chittlehamholt have been approved by North Devon Council’s planning committee - despite fervent local opposition.

Several residents of the village spoke against the plans for expansion at Wednesday’s meeting, with many claiming that the access roads to the village - particularly Newlands Hill - were unsuitable to take on more traffic.

In an impressive display, residents produced a slide show which highlighted the narrow single-track roads and ‘dangerous’ junctions to the B3226 and A377.

Mrs B Vernon, a village resident for more than 40 years, called for a more in-depth ecology assessment, adding that four endangered species of bats were common on the site.

The lodges will be built on the golf course fairways, meaning the course will be shortened to nine holes.

Another resident, Barbara Kilvington, said: “We’ve enjoyed a good relationship with Highbullen but 58 lodges would upset that.

“We drive at crawling speeds along the roads and the golf course would be halved in size, so membership would drop. That would make golf unsustainable and leave the owners wanting more lodges in the future.”

Hotel owner Frank Chapman told councillors that he had spent almost £9million on regenerating the site since buying it in 2012, and needed the lodges to keep the award-winning business viable.

Councillor Jasmine Chesters, when moving approval, said: “There is a new investment and there seems to be really good management at the hotel.

“We want more people to come to North Devon and I can’t see any reasons to turn this down.”