ONE of Worcester's most historic landmarks has secured a dramatic rebirth - and will become a multi-million pound 'garden villa' for 100 pensioners.

Investors will turn the 19th century former St Mary's Convent School into a thriving housing complex for older people in a significant revamp, creating 50 jobs.

The deal effectively saves Mount Battenhall from the bulldozers, preserving Worcester's former all-girls school which served the city for 80 years.

Developers will create three impressive villas, one four storeys high, surrounded by sweeping tree-lined vistas and fully restore the rest of the convent.

Worcester News:

The Grade II listed site dates back to 1863 and was a former hospital before becoming a girls school, but closed in 2014 signalling the end of an era.

Worcester City Council's planning committee has voted through the care village scheme, despite nearby residents trying to get it booted out.

Battenhall Residents Association complained that four-storeys was too tall for one villa, and cited serious concerns over parking, access and traffic.

But councillors were won over by the developer Enterprise Retirement Living, which cited Worcester's "demographic time-bomb" of older people.

Worcester News:

Under the scheme pensioners will be able to own a property of either one or two beds and get access to 15 full-time and 35 part-time care staff, helping them stay independent.

Cllr Roger Berry, speaking during the committee meeting, said: "This is an absolutely superb building that needs to be preserved.

"And at the same time, we're going to be meeting the needs of more older people who want to remain in their own homes."

Cllr Paul Denham added: "It's a superb Grade II listed building.

"Given that we've had no objections from Historic England or our own Conservation Areas Advisory Committee, who are the arbiters of our historic buildings, I see no reason not to approve this."

Worcester News:

Planning committee chairman Councillor Chris Mitchell called the development "brilliant".

During the debate nearby resident Brian Eyes called the development "massive", saying it would be "right in the face" of neighbours and obscure the Cherry Orchard skyline.

But Peter Martin, from Enterprise Retirement Living, told them it would give older people "dignity" and become "one of the best care communities in the country".

Green Cllr Louis Stephen voted against it on the basis four storeys was too high and Tory Cllrs Alan Amos and Andy Stafford abstained, but the rest of the committee voted it through.

The decision brings an end to years of uncertainty after the girls school closed its doors.

The site, pictured below, was put on the market in November 2014 for an asking price of £4 million.

Worcester News: ELEGANT: St Mary's Convent School and its elegant grounds

It is widely considered one of the most important buildings in the city, given its rich contribution to an entire generation of women who were educated there.

When it closed down, the school's management put it down to no longer being viable.