AMBITIOUS plans to build retirement homes on an eyesore site in Wellington are expected to be turned down tonight (January 9).

McCarthy & Stone want to turn the old Bulford medical centre into 42 later living apartments, but council bosses say the site and surrounding South Street car park should be earmarked for retail use.

The application is set to be refused by Taunton Deane planners later for the second time in three months.

In November, planning officers said the developers needed to provide full contributions towards off-site affordable housing – something the firm says it has done.

A spokesman for McCarthy & Stone said: “Despite us now committing to the full financial contributions towards affordable housing, and leisure and recreation facilities, as requested by the officer, they’re maintaining their stance that the site should deliver further retail space.

“Despite the site being ring-fenced to deliver retail space since 2003, no viable development has yet been delivered.

“People will be well aware that the site currently exists as an eyesore in the heart of Wellington – unused and undeveloped.

“We’re obviously disheartened by this negative recommendation.”

The site has been abandoned since staff transferred to a £3.5million health centre in Mantle Street in 2009.

A report for the committee highlighted the importance of retail in Wellington, saying: “The loss of the allocated site to residential use would leave the local planning authority incapable of meeting the town’s predicted retail needs on sites that would preserve the vitality and viability of the town centre.”