A FORMER Severn Trent Water office block in Worcester could be knocked down and replaced with dozens of new family homes.

Developer Cheltenham Properties wants to demolish the building in Bromwich Road, St John’s, and replace it with 45 two, three and four-bedroom houses.

But councillors have warned that they will take a cautious approach to any plans which could lead to the loss of employment land.

Ward councillor Derek Prodger said: “We need to be careful about losing too much land used for employment to other uses such as residential property.

“It is important for the city council, and is set out in our policies, to protect jobs and keep pieces of employment land for employment purposes.

“It is vital for the economy of the city, particularly if the land is well-used which I believe in this case it is. We need to be cautious.”

Severn Trent Water sold the building, which was used as offices and a depot, in 2001.

In an application letter submitted to Worcester City Council, Colin Griffiths, managing director for agents Satnam Planning Services, said since then the site has been used as offices by a number of smaller firms, most of which have been charities which pay lower rents. For this reason, he said, continuing use as offices was not commercially viable.

He added that a consultation run in February revealed that most people in the area would prefer the land to be used for housing rather than for more offices.

If the plans are approved, 22 three-bedroom semi-detached homes will be built, along with five other three-bedroom homes with garages and 15 two-bedroom terraced houses.

Three four-bedroom detached homes will also be built. All the houses will have at least one parking space.

The entrance to the new mini-estate will stay where the current entrance to the Severn Trent offices is off Bromwich Road.