A DERELICT care home looks set to be turned into flats as councillors expressed a keen desire to see the “eyesore” demolished as soon as possible.

Members of the Stratton St Margaret Parish Council on Tuesday night discussed a planning application to turn the former Selena House care home in Oxford Road into eight flats.

The site has been left in a state of disrepair since June 2016 when a fire ripped through the abandoned building.

Coun Barrie Jennings said: “It has been an eyesore ever since the fire and it’s very dangerous. Although the windows are boarded up, there does seem to be access to it because the boards have been kicked in.

“It is vital that this is demolished as soon as possible and it will be difficult to get any development here if we reject this now.”

The proposal is for the demolition of the existing structure followed by the erection of six two-bedroom flats and two one-bedroom flats along with amenity space and associated parking.

Some residents, however, have voiced concerns that the parking arrangements for visitors, already problematic in Oxford Road, will be made worse. This is due to the proposed development’s lack of provision for visitors’ parking.

David Reeves, who lives in nearby Whitelands Road, said: “This road is all ways busy as it is. I live in Whitelands Road and people park outside my house, so I am concerned when people go to visit the flats they will park in Whitelands Road.”

Oxford Road resident Patricia Timms agreed. Writing to the council when the plans were first submitted, she said: “This part of Oxford Road is very narrow and visitor parking in the road already causes problems.

“This potential additional parking will only cause more congestion as cars parked opposite our drive already make it difficult turning into the drive due to the width of the road.”

But councillors disagreed, saying there was nothing much that can be done about football fans parking in the area on Saturday afternoons.

Coun Tim Page said: “It’s relatively easy to park on that road. There is plenty of room and you could park a lot more cars on there without too many problems.”

There was some concern, which had been raised when the plans were submitted, about the strain on the sewage system and potential blockages that might be caused by the flats. But it was pointed out that the former care home coped perfectly well with the drains, and it was unlikely to be an issue with the new build.

Attention was drawn to the fact that noise from the nearby railway line might also be an issue, but this was not deemed a particularly pressing factor.

In the end, it was agreed that anything was better than leaving the building in its current state of disrepair.

Committee members were keen to approve the plans.

The next meeting of the parish council will be the finance committee on Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm.