A PLAN to build 64 homes and 71 assisting living apartments as a part of a major development on the old Defra site looks set to be approved.

The plan, part of the second phase of the development on the brownfield site off Whittington Road in Worcester, would see a number of homes and bungalows and a four-storey assisted living building built.

If approved, it would be the second stage of development for the old Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) site.

Full permission to build 120 homes was granted for the site in August 2016 and are currently being built whilst an office development on a different part of the site was also approved in principle.

The permission for offices would be altered to build the apartments.

The city council’s planning policy officer and economic development officer objected to the plan as the homes would be contrary to the use of land earmarked in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) and would also be a loss of employment land for the city as also allocated in the SWDP.

A report, to be discussed by the city council’s planning committee at a meeting on Thursday (February 21), said developing the land would for office use would be “unviable” and an alternative plan for housing is reasonable.

As part of the plan, 41 of the homes and self-contained extra care apartments would be affordable – 18 for affordable rent and 23 shared ownership. Two of the affordable of homes would be bungalows.

Of the remaining 94 homes, 34 of the extra care apartments and 60 homes would be put up for sale on the open market.

In the plan, 24 homes would located off the existing spine road with two parking spaces each.

The spine road would provide access to a cul-de-sac towards the north of the site which then gives access to the extra care facility and another nine homes.

The remaining homes would be accessed by roads being built as part of the first stage of the overall development.

Spetchley Road Residents Association did not object to the plan in principle but was disappointed by its design. The council’s conservation advisory panel also objected to the plan.

In response, council planners said the plan was a “modern” development which was in keeping with surrounding developments.

Some concerns were also raised by neighbours that the site was being overdeveloped.

City council planners said the 3.17 hectare with 135 homes – including the 71 extra care apartments – would result in 42 homes per hectare, compared to 30 homes per hectare in the first phase of the development.

Council planners said the plan was making the most effective use of the land and would help combat the housing shortage.