A FORMER prep school in the town centre could be turned into a retirement village in a multi-million pound development.

Developer Audley wants to provide a care community of 100 apartments with communal facilities, off-road parking and landscaped outdoor spaces on Malvern College’s former Hillstone site, off Abbey Road.

The developer has officially submitted proposals for a series of six apartment blocks as well as the conversion of former school buildings Ellerslie Lodge, Ellerslie House, Cherbourg and Southlands.

Priory ward councillor Roger Hall-Jones described the site as “terribly important” because of its links to Malvern’s famous water cure.

He is especially pleased the plans included the restoration of Ellerslie House, Dr Edward Johnson’s water cure establishment.

He added: “The proposed use is an interesting and almost exciting one. It makes you feel that when the time comes that you would want to live in such a place.”

The village will have its own bar, bistro, restaurant and health and well-being centre.

Other communal facilities will include croquet and bowls lawns, woodland paths, sun terrace, summer houses, elevated walkway water features and a wetland zone.

There will also be meadow and wildflower planting and a woodland zone.

Alterations will also be made to site entrances to improve access.

The site was sold as part of the merger between Malvern College Prep School and The Downs in Colwall and will be known as Malvern Retirement Village.

Audley hope to start the work in early 2011, with the first residents due to move in towards the end of the year.

News of the scheme follows just weeks after retirement specialist McCarthy and Stone announced its plans to re-develop the Treasurers Site, off Church Street, into more than 50 apartments for the elderly.

Anyone wishing to comment on the planning application should do so by Friday, December 10.