WORCESTER'S biggest employer secured planning approval today for a major expansion - promising to bring more jobs to the city.

The city council's planning committee backed Worcester's Bosch bid to build a new office and warehouse complex at Apex Park, in Warndon's Wainwright Road this afternoon.

The firm, which already employs 2,000 people in Worcester, wants to occupy a 6.7 acre site, along with 170 parking spaces.

Despite concerns over traffic congestion, the committee backed it unanimously on the grounds it would be a major boost to Worcester's economy.

Although Worcester Bosch has not revealed the number of roles it aims to create, it wants to drum up enough business to take up all the floorspace and parking slots.

The site also benefits from a new cycleway, which will be lengthened to encourage workers to travel into work the green way.

Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economic prosperity, skills and infrastructure said: "This is an extremely important firm for the economy of the city, and within the planning regime we work to we should encourage it."

Councillor Andy Roberts said: "It's an incredibly important business for the city.

"It will create traffic problems but given what benefits it will bring to the city, we can't waiver our support for this."

Their comments followed feedback from other politicians, who said the area already suffers from congestion.

Councillor Roger Berry said he was "concerned a special exception is being made", adding: "Does this mean all the extra problems created by this development will be ignored?"

But the Mayor of Worcester Councillor Pat Agar, who also sits on the committee, said: "I do think the officers are right to prioritise the jobs that will come with this."

The heating group will continue to operate from its premises in

Cotswold Way, Warndon, but the new development would allow Bosch to bring its distribution facilities together in one location as it starts to expand into new markets.

The site, which is next to junction 6 of the M5, has previously been occupied by Cosworth Technology but has been empty for over seven years.

Paul O'Connor, head of planning in Worcester, says the company already has a lot of employees who live in the "WR4 and WR5" areas that prefer to cycle to work.

It was backed unanimously by the committee, with a report before councillors saying new job creation should be "strongly supported".

* The planning committee also agreed to back a new 'cap' on houses of multiple occupation today, properties containing three to six people in single beds.

The committee agreed that the cabinet should vote in favour of it next month, with a view to a July launch after a consultation.

More on the 10 per cent 'cap' will follow in your Worcester News.