CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a former Habitat store and build more than 130 homes in Wallingford should be approved, a planning officer has said.

A report to South Oxfordshire District Council said there is “no reasonable prospect” of the Hithercroft Industrial Estate building being used for a business.

Lightwood Property has applied to build 94 homes and 40 extra care homes to provide supported living to people aged 55 and over.

A total of 40 per cent of the homes would be affordable and the scheme would include a 2,610sqm commercial building.

Wallingford Town Council objected over concerns it would “reduce current employment land” despite a recognised need by the district council for such land.

It also raised concerns about impact on drainage and said: “The care home is proposed to be in too close a proximity to existing, noisy industrial units.”

The town branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said it is keen to see the site redeveloped.

The developer will be legally obliged to give cash “to ensure the development does not place an unacceptable strain on the existing infrastructure”.

The planning committee meets on Wednesday at 6pm at the council’s offices in Crowmarsh Gifford.