A DEVELOPMENT firm will be told to smarten up its act or face action from Worcester City Council - even though a senior planner believes a "cat-and-mouse" game may result.

The authority's planning committee has decided that enough is enough, after hearing fresh complaints about the state of land near the shops in Canada Way, Lower Wick.

Permission was granted in 1998 for 14 homes on the site, off Labrador Road.

But the landowners, London-based Willow Management, have not gone ahead with the development and the land, and a row of garages, are now unkempt.

Worcester City Council's principal planning officer, Peter Yates, described the plot as an "eyesore".

"A residential development there would be the most desirable outcome for everybody," he told the planning committee.

"Everybody, that is, except the landlords. Willow Management don't seem to be bothered and they're clearly not looking after these garages."

He advised issuing a legal notice requiring the owners to tidy the land, and to either bulldoze the garages or give them a makeover.

"But this notice wouldn't apply once a development started," said Mr Yates.

"I hope Willow realise that. I've spoken to a chartered surveyor and there are housing firms who want to build in Worcester who are champing at the bit."

But Councillor Geoff Williams feared the owners might do the bare minimum.

"We don't have the powers to force them to keep the site tidy," he said.

Mr Yates admitted a "cat-and-mouse game" could emerge if the council posted the Untidy Land notice.

But Coun Derek Prodger, the committee chairman, urged his colleagues to act.

"People have complained about the site for several years," he said.

"Worcester's MP, Mike Foster, has visited, as has the chief executive of the council, David Wareing, and various environmental health officers."

He called for the garages to be demolished.

Members agreed to issue the notice, giving Willow Management two months to improve the situation and raze the garages.