FEARS from neighbours about disturbance, threats to wildlife and the possibility of further development means a well-loved charity’s plans hang in the balance.

There has been ‘significant local opposition’ to a proposal by Acorns Hospice in Worcester to building a new car park at its site in Bath Road.

Because of these concerns the plan has been ‘called in’ by Councillor Louis Stephen and will be considered by Worcester City Council’s planning meeting on Thursday

The report from the authority’s planning officers recommends that councillors approve the scheme but quotes residents’ concerns as including the fear that “this application could be the thin edge of a wedge to create an additional access to the site to then further enable a future development.”

The hospice says in its application that it doesn’t have enough parking and wants to use a plot of land at the back of its property to make a bigger staff car park, for use only during the hours of 7am to 10pm.

Two dozen letters were received from neighbours. Many objected on the grounds that the car park would increase traffic and noise, particularly in an area where access was sometimes difficult.

There are also worries about the impact on wildlife habitat, including “bats, foxes, badger, woodpeckers and a cuckoo.”

Another wrote: “This has all the hallmarks of a Trojan horse. If granted consent the hospice would undoubtedly look to the future development of the whole site for housing, using Norton Close as the main access. This would totally destroy the character and amenity of the area

Acorns’ chief executive Toby Porter spoke to the Worcester News just before a meeting with residents to try and allay their fears.

He said: “It’s understandable that people have fears and concerns about any new planning application, and I wouldn’t want to stop anyone having their say, but I’m concerned that there is a record of things that just aren’t true.

“We don’t want to use this to expand. There is an issue with parking, and there have been complaints from our neighbours about it spilling out into nearby streets. We want to make parking for staff doing 12 hour shifts, so there won’t be more journeys, just 12 cars coming in and leaving once a day.”

The meeting begins at 1.30pm, Thursday at the Guildhall.