PLANS to build retirement living apartments for elderly people on the site of Abergavenny’s police station and former magistrates’ court have been approved - despite the scheme dividing opinion in the council chamber.

Councillors on Monmouthshire County Council's planning committee approved plans to demolish the former magistrates' court and current police station in Tudor Street and build 47 new apartments in its place at a meeting on Tuesday.

However concerns were raised over the designs and the amount of money agreed upon in a section 106 for affordable housing.

Cllr Roger Harris (Croesonen ward) said the designs for the apartments could be improved and called for the application to be deferred.

He said: "I am sure they could come up with a development that gets away from the boxiness that's there at the moment."

Cllr Harris also questioned the section 106 contribution towards affordable housing of £232,506 agreed upon.

MCC's housing officer had originally asked for £732,032. But the figure was later changed aftr being agreed upon with the district valuer.

Cllr Giles Howard (Llanfoist Fawr) said the designs were "too bog-standard" as they were.

"It's not awful but it's not inspiring," he said.

"The style of it isn't residential in nature."

And Cllr Louise Brown (Shirenewton) said something "more externally appealing" could have been produced.

But Cllr Sheila Woodhouse (Grofield) urged the committee to support the development.

Cllr Woodhouse said the designs had been changed to address concerns and said the site was in a suitable location near to the town centre and public transport.

"This is an opportunity to return Tudor Street to it becoming a residential area, an opportunity to provide 47 homes in the heart of Abergavenny and an opportunity of putting people before cars," she said.

Cllr Maureen Powell (Castle) also praised the project and said it would help elderly people.

Cllr Alan Davies (Green Lane) said the police station is the "ugliest building" he had ever seen and that the plans represented a "magnificent improvement" on the current site.

Councillors voted to approve the plans by eight to four.