THE developer which got planning permission to build a care home on the site of Malvern's old hospital now wants to build a bigger one.

But the move has been described as "taking advantage" by a leading member of the town's civic society.

Montpelier Land Ltd was granted planning permission in June to build a 46-bed home on the site in Lansdowne Crescent.

But now the firm has come back with a new application, upping the number of beds to 51.

This brings the capacity of the care home back to that of Montpelier's original application, which was rejected by Malvern Hills District Council several years ago.

Clive Hooper, chairman of Malvern Civic Society, said: "Our planning group has discussed the application this week, and, as the footprint of the building is the same, there is not a lot we can say.

"We do have concerns about about extra parking and traffic in Lansdowne Crescent, which is quite a restricted space.

"And we do feel the applicant is taking advantage of the planning process. Its original plan for a 51-bed home was turned down, and it came up with the 46-bed plan, which was approved.

"Now Montpelier is using this amended planning application to try and get what they originally wanted. You could describe it as a bit cheeky."

A letter accompanying the application says that Montpelier is dealing with Berkley Care Group as prospective operators of the site, and that Berkley says "‘The number of beds at 46 gives us a problem in that we could, with the same number of staff, management and services, deliver 51 care beds."

It says the home's appearance from the outside will be the same as in the previous application.

A spokesman for the district council said: "

Two earlier schemes were submitted to the council in 2015; one in a contemporary architectural style and the other more traditional.

Both were refused in 2016.

The hospital was a gift to the town from philanthropist C W Dyson Perrins, who also gave the town its library and Dyson Perrins school.

The building became redundant as a hospital when the new community hospital in Worcester Road, Malvern Link, opened in 2011.