PLANS for a trading estate to be demolished and replaced with new homes have been given the go ahead by Herefordshire Council's planning committee.

Permission was granted for Codex Land PCC to demolish all existing buildings and hard standings at Holmer Trading Estate and to develop 120 homes in its place.

The scheme also includes the restoration of the Hereford to Gloucester Canal, public open space, new access for pedestrians and vehicles and associated works.

A scheme for the comprehensive redevelopment of the site was allowed on appeal in 2009 but that permission had not been implemented and was not considered viable.

The new plans will involve the demolition of all buildings on site, the committee heard, and the development would be made up of one and two bed apartments and two to five bedroom homes.

John Mayo-Evans, whose garage business has been based at the site for more than 30 years, told the committee that around 150 people are currently employed with the 25 or so businesses currently based there.

A petition to retain employment land on the site had garnered more than 1,300 signatures, he said, and there were concerns that traffic would be made worse on an already busy route.

But the committee was also told by a speaker on behalf of the applicant that the site was now over half empty and businesses had been aware since 2009 of plans for its redevelopment.

Councillors praised plans for the canal's restoration but asked for help to be given to businesses to find a suitable place to relocate.

Councillor Marcelle Lloyd Hayes said: "It's quite clear that since 2009 considerable work has been done with regard to this application.

"The changes are so significant that it's a completely different application now. The development of the canal is essential to the future of the city."

The plans were approved, with conditions, after 13 committee members voted in its favour and one abstained.