A DEVELOPER claims it is “on the cusp” of finalising plans to begin converting an old school into a retirement village.

Enterprise Retirement Living Ltd (ERL) was given planning permission in July 2017 to create the 100-property Mount Battenhall at the site of St Mary’s Covent School, Battenhall Avenue, closed in 2014.

Work was slated to begin last summer, and city councillor Louis Stephen has said he has been chasing the developers to find out what the hold-up is.

But Peter Martin, ERL development and commercial manager, has said discussions are currently ongoing with contractors and he hopes “to confirm the date for work to commence in the near future”.

Cllr Stephen, Worcester Green Party leader, who represents Battenhall, has promised he and his colleagues will “keep the pressure up on the developers”.

He said ERL have advised him that further survey work is ongoing and that they are “now in detailed discussions with builders”.

Residents have apparently raised concerns with Cllr Stephen about the site growing increasingly untidy, including overhanging trees causing a nuisance.

On March 4, the city council approved an application for various work to trees on the site, “including felling, crown reduction, removing dead wood, removing epicormics, severing ivy, crown lifting”.

The one and two bedroom homes will have a reception room, kitchen and a bathroom or shower room.

Developers intend to restore the 19th century building and create three new villas within the seven-acre site.

The original intention was for the first properties to be available in 2019.

Previously, the project has been mostly met with a positive reaction from residents.

But neighbours had raised concerns over the height of the structure, amount of parking and road improvements for scooters. The grade II listed building was built in a Italianate-style by city clothier William Spriggs and then sold to former mayor Alfred Percy Allsopp – dates back to the 1860s.

During the First World War, the mansion – set on seven acres – was used as a convalescent home and then a renowned school.