A LONGSTANDING city coach hire business says it will continue to trade – despite plans to turn its base into new houses and a care home.

An application has been made by land owners to turn the site of Astons Coaches in Bath Road, Broomhall, near Worcester into 66 homes and a 32 bed care home.

But Richard Conway, managing director of Astons, says the company, based at the site for around 20 years, will continue to operate – either at that site or an alternative location in the area, depending on whether the application is granted.

He says that business for the firm is booming and that services for customers will not be affected, no matter the outcome of the planning application.

Astons, which provides day trips, short breaks and other services, runs 54 vehicles and employs about 80 people.

Mr Conway says he is in amicable discussions with the owner of the site, his former business partner, over what will happen next.

He said: "We're continuing to trade here and if it gets planning permission we will look at an alternative location.

"We have had one of our best years in terms of trading and all the services to our customers won't be affected in any way.

"It's not an issue for us to move. It's early days yet."

The outline planning application to Malvern Hills District Council by Clerkenleap Developments is for a range of one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three and four-bed family homes. It includes provision for 40 per cent affordable housing.

The plan, if agreed, would involve existing buildings on the site being demolished.

The site itself is made up of a collection of workshop, office and welfare buildings surrounded by a large circulation yard and coach park with an enclosed agricultural paddock to the west.

It was formerly part of the land held by Clerkenleap Farm.

The grade II farmhouse and a 19th century barn to the east of the site are both now used as offices.

The list description for the farmhouse draws attention to an association with Edward Winslow (Jnr) who sailed in the Mayflower in 1620 and became Governor of Plymouth Colony New England.

The origins of this connection appear to be Edward’s great grandfather Kenlem who was born in Droitwich in 1534 but married in Kempsey in 1559 and was buried in Kempsey in 1607 having title to two estates, Clerkeleap and Newport Place.

Despite owning the title to Clerkenleap, it is not clear whether Kenlem ever lived there.

The site falls outside the battlefield site of the Battle of Worcester, which took place on September 3, 1651.

The development will include 'a large area of communal green open space' and existing access to the coach park and an existing footpath would both be used.

The proposed development will 'prioritise pedestrian and cycle routes' according to the application documents, with plans involving linking both footpath/cycle routes and other alternative modes of transport, including the Severn Way.

Solar power may be used to create a 10 per cent reduction in energy use. at the site.

A consultation on the plans (planning reference 17/00119) closes on March 17.

No date has yet been set for the plans to be discussed at the planning meeting.