CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a bungalow on land owned by a Malvern school have been criticised by a district councillor.

Malvern St James Girls School is reportedly seeking to knock down the bungalow on the site in Hayslan Avenue, near fields it owns.

Despite this, Pickersleigh councillor Paul Bennett said the bungalow should stay in place.

He said: "It is important that the local community is aware of what is happening here.

"Although the creation of the world’s most expensive wildflower meadow is a lovely short term gain, the loss of a much-needed and valuable bungalow is surprising.

"Malvern St James must have money to burn if they can destroy such valuable property.

"Of course, there may be other plans in the pipeline. We will all have to wait and see."

Notices have gone up on the site informing residents of the school’s intention to demolish the bungalow, No.2 Hayslan Avenue.

In response to Cllr Bennett’s claims, a school spokesman said the bungalow was unsightly and had been broken into a number of times over the years, and that demolition was necessary.

They said: "The property has been derelict for some years and is a Health and Safety liability to the School.

"Over the years, it has been broken into on numerous occasions and vandalised, requiring constant repairs to be made.

"The cost to repair and refurbish the house far outstrips that to demolish it and in the current climate, the School must prioritise its resource allocation.

"As the environment changes, we may seek to build a replacement dwelling on the plot for staff if required.

"The immediate neighbours of the property are delighted they will have a wildflower meadow beside them as opposed to a decaying building and unattractive site.

"It will also make it much easier for the School to maintain going forward while removing the Health and Safety risk."

Plans to build on Hayslan Fields have been controversial for a number of years. In 2015, a group of Pickersleigh residents formed a campaign group against plans to redevelop the site.

Residents submitted 241 individual letters of objection to the plans, by Barwood Strategic Homes, and a petition with 1,538 signatures.

Many of the objectors referred to the sites’s attractions as a place to walk and experience nature, especially for those who cannot get onto the Malvern Hills for reasons of age and disability.