A CONTROVERSIAL scheme for an extension at Malvern Theatres is set to go before planners this week.

The proposal will provide space for an expanded programme of educational activities at the theatres complex in Grange Road.

It will also bring major changes to the building’s facade.

The theatre already operates a popular educational programme, but its scope is limited due to the lack of a dedicated space.

The application proposes the loss of the late 19th century entrance canopy and portico, and their replacement with a new entrance and first floor extension.

The application has split opinion among local residents, with some voicing strong objections to the design.

Among the comments are: "The design would be incongruous and will not fit into the street scene," "Object to such an ugly design in the Conservation Area," "Victorian architecture is an important asset to Malvern, continual erosion will result in the town losing its character."

But others praised the proposal, one saying "Modern design in a town already full of bland reproduction is welcomed", and another calling it "crisp, light and elegant".

At Wednesday's meeting of Malvern Hills District Council's southern area planning committee, members are being urged to approve the scheme.

The planning officers' report says: "the proposed extension and alterations to the theatres complex would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area."

The meeting is at County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, at 6.30pm.