PROPOSALS to create a home for eight young men with autism in Powick have been approved by a planning inspector on appeal.

Last summer, healthcare provider the Options Group submitted a planning application to Malvern Hills District Council to change the use of Bredon House in Hospital Lane. It had previously been used as an office building.

At a public meeting in August, people living nearby voiced concerns about what effect the home, whose residents would be 20 years or older, would have on their area.

In November, the council’s northern area development control committee voted to refuse permission, going on their own planning officers’ advice, stating the loss of the office use of the building was against the council’s employment policies.

But the applicant appealed that decision and government planning inspector Clive Sproule has now overturned it. In his report, he said: “Community benefits would be realised by the scheme and these are considered to be sufficient to outweigh the loss of the existing employment site.

“Convincing evidence has not been produced to suggest that in comparison to other potential occupiers of the building, people considered suitable for placement in the proposed apartments would result in any significant increased risk of crime.”

Richard Cooke, of Options, said the building would now be converted, adding it would probably be at least six months before the work was finished.

Resident Bill Bowen said: “We’re disappointed the planning inspector came to the conclusion he did, because we don’t think this is the right place for it, but if the Options Group goes ahead, we’ll do what we can to help them integrate into the local community.”