ICONIC views of the Malvern Hills will be lost forever after a planning inspector overturned a council's decision to refuse 45 new homes in Powick.

Inspector Clive Hughes agreed the loss of the views from Malvern Road and the Crown pub would cause harm but felt the benefits of more housing outweighed it.

Planning policy dictates that if a council does not have an up-to-date five-year-plan for housing supply, as is the case in South Worcestershire, more weight must be given to any proposal that supplies housing.

The news comes as a blow to local people who raised £10,000 to fight the appeal, submitted by Bovis Homes after Malvern Hills District Council rejected the plan in August.

Councillor Tom Wells said: "I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg.

"Until the South Worcestershire councils have got a housing plan, I think we will see more speculative applications.

He added: "The inspector recognised these are the first views of the Malvern Hills as you are travelling from Worcester.

"He called it an iconic view and he's dead right.

"I find it extraordinary on one hand he accepts the significant loss but he considers the need for more housing trumps that."

Coun Wells said it sent a clear message to other developers that inspectors would rule in their favour.

The permission for the homes, opposite the Crown pub, comes shortly after councillors agreed a plan for 39 extra homes in Colletts Green and

Coun Wells said the village was expanding without any necessary facilities.

He said: "We've lost our village stores, post office and butcher shop.

"The school is full and the village hall is over-subscribed."

Russell Close resident Sarah Beard said villagers were disappointed but added: "At least by taking it to the inspector heavier conditions were placed on Bovis which might not have otherwise happened at Malvern Hills District Council."

Mrs Beard described the current planning system as "vicious."

The decision came after a four-day inquiry at Callow End Village Hall.

Mr Hughes said the plan, which includes 18 affordable homes, could generate almost £800,000 per year for the local economy and would provide a public open space with a viewing platform offering a spectacular and uninterrupted view of the hills.

He also pointed out Bovis would contribute towards the construction of a sports pavilion with community room at the nearby Hamilton Close playing fields and would pay £6,000 towards bus stops, £82,653 towards education, £18,225 towards footway works and £67,042 towards Worcester Transport Strategy.