A FORMER children's nursery in Worcester is being turned into nine flats, sparking controversy.

Victoria House Day Nursery, in Lechmere Crescent, is being converted into nine double-bed apartments after the city council's planning committee gave it the nod.

It was approved despite concerns up to 18 people could be living at the property, which is in a residential street in St John's.

The city council says it has forged an agreement that no more than 10 people will be allowed to stay there.

During a debate over it Councillor Alan Amos said: "I don't see how us saying 'no more than 10 people can stay there' will actually work.

"I think it's more likely there will be 18 people there, not 10 - a lot of these double-bedders will have two people in them.

"We are getting further and further away from what we want at this planning committee."

Chris Chapman, from the council's housing team, admitted there was no legal control measures to prevent there being 18 people there, but an agreement is in place for a limit to be set at 10.

But he said officers will be monitoring the situation to ensure it does not cause any problems.

"The local authority has a duty to take action if we find what is called a 'category one' hazard," he said.

"We can't control people with it but we can use it to take action if there is not adequate storage or other facilities."

He said if it becomes problematic they can serve an "improvement notice" to demand things change, which is enforceable in court.

It was voted through by the committee, despite Councillor David Tibbutt abstaining and Cllr Amos backing a refusal.

From June the council is adopting new powers to crackdown on student housing or properties in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The plans will require landlords seeking to convert a home into a HMO with between three and six bedrooms to apply for planning permission.