A DECISION over whether to allow a controversial plan to convert a former care home into flats has been delayed.

Malvern Hills District Council's planning committee agreed to defer a decision on Rooftop Housing's plan to convert Adelaide House in Malvern into eight flats over concerns about parking.

The former care home in Park Road would be converted into eight flats with 11 car parking spaces but councillors delayed a decision to allow for a visit to see the size of the land.

Cllr John Raine said he, and the rest of West Malvern, was pleased to see plans to "refurbish and reawaken" Adelaide House but was concerned about the space set aside for parking.

He said its size raised "significant questions" about the proposal and called for the plan to be deferred to allow the committee to visit the site.

Cllr Andy Turner, chairman of West Malvern Parish Council which objected to the plan, said the layout and density was "inappropriate" and would have an adverse impact on the local area.

He said: "The financial contributions from this development, some of which will come to our parish, will not in any way, offset the longer term issues we would have to deal with."

A total of 12 objections were made by neighbours to Malvern Hills District Council about the plan saying eight flats was too many and the area was “wholly unsuitable” for affordable low-rent housing because of its location.

Others bemoaned the lack of parking, busy narrow road, infrequent public transport and the lack of facilities within walking distance as reasons for the site being unsuitable for affordable flats.

Garth Richards, who spoke on behalf of some of the objecting residents, said: "The community have real concerns over the development. "It is a unique, historical building in a quiet Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," he said.

Mr Richards said the land was not brownfield and Rooftop Housing was trying to "force a square peg into a round hole."

Rebecca Pitt from Rooftop Housing said the plan was a chance to bring the building, which had been empty for a long time, back into use and preserve its future.

Highways officers at Worcestershire County Council raised no objection to the plan.

Plans to build two detached houses on the land next to the former care were put forward last year but also withdrawn.

Another controversial scheme to convert Adelaide House into a rehabilitation centre for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first put forward in 2014 leading to a public meeting being held.

Malvern Civic Society said the plan should be rejected because it had hardly changed.

The committee agreed by 17 votes to defer a decision to allow for a site visit with one abstention.