A Christian conference centre in the heart of the Dales has won planning permission for a controversial futuristic £6.5 million development.

And the application for Scargill House, Kettlewell, is thought to be one of the biggest applications ever submitted to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The go-ahead was given by the authority’s planning committee on Tuesday, but final approval will not be issued until a further report has gone before members with a full list of conditions and details of a proposed legal agreement.

The Scargill Movement – which purchased the centre in 2009 – was seeking planning permission to extend the complex through alterations, selective demolition and new-build works.

But it withdrew its original scheme after an outcry from the community, with the project being likened to an East London bus station.

The amended plans tried to address some of the concerns, but still included a dining hub with floor-to-ceiling windows and accommodation arranged over ascending levels around a central courtyard.

Simon Browning, project director at the Scargill Movement, said: “We’ve worked hard to get the plans right, liaising with the local community and taking into account all of their concerns.

“Scargill House is in serious need of some refurbishment – and we believe the Scargill Movement has proposed the most timely and sympathetic development plan that Upper Wharfedale could hope for.”

The Scargill Movement will now seek funding for the scheme.

Chris Beazley, chairman of Kettlewell-with-Starbotton Parish Council, said a considerable opportunity has been missed to create a contemporary design worthy of this outstanding location.

He said: “While we accept that the authority has passed these plans, we take comfort that some of our concerns have been heard”.

David Belk, chairman of action group Waspdale, said: “From our point of view, it’s a disappointing decision, especially in view of the fact that at the planning committee meeting there were four times as many residents who spoke in objection to the scheme than for it, and there were objections from three parish councils representing over 2,000 residents of Upper Wharfedale.”