WORK has already begun on a major new housing development in Malvern.

Earlier this week, councillors agreed to sell off a strip of land behind the Foley Arms to allow Elevate to begin work on 17 new homes and three new shops.

Since then, the developer has wasted no time, with clearance work already starting on the site, a disused car park.

Plans for the site were approved last summer, with a number of councillors calling the site an "eyesore".

Until recently, Edith Walk was a lane running parallel with Church Street and linking up with Back Lane, which runs parallel with Graham Road.

It provided a back entrance to the gardens of the houses in Church Street which were converted into shops in Victorian times and the entrance to the Foley Arms car park, which was originally a stable block, carriage house and staff accommodation.

The area to the east of the Foley Arms Hotel car park was also used for a weekly market.

The use of the area changed in the 1990s with the building of the Somerfields (now Wilko) shop and associated car park and, in 1999, the opening of the Waitrose store with the changes to the road pattern off Graham Road and the introduction of traffic lights.

In 2010 the Foley Arms Hotel was sold to Wetherspoons but the car park was kept in private ownership.

In 2014 Travelodge put forward plans for a 40-bedroom hotel with adjacent apartments, four shops and some parking spaces.

Although the proposal was considered by the District Council, it did not proceed, partly because the plan was considered to be over-development and partly because of the financial problems with the company at the time.