A MUSIC academy has been urged to find a new home after councillors this afternoon approved an application to replace their venue with flats.

West Oxfordshire District Council's planning committee voted to demolish The Rock Barn, in Witney Market Square, with a note encouraging applicants Keble Homes to help MuzoAkademy, who rent the venue, find alternative premises.

The building had been leased to the academy, which teaches music to more than 100 people of all ages and abilities, by town and district councillor David Harvey.

But planning officer Phil Shaw recommended councillors approve the plans and emphasised his belief that other locations 'a short walk' from the site were available.

Speaking at today's meeting he told councillors: "We fully accept this space benefits socially and medically those who use it however as it isn't an asset of community value that isn't grounds to refuse planning permission.

"There's nothing bespoke or specific to that part of the building and we must move to secure suitable premises elsewhere."

The committee was expected to approve the application at a meeting last month but opted for a site visit, which took place on Thursday.

Today's meeting heard from Andrew Hobson, speaking on behalf of MuzoAkademy, and Jason Hale, who appeared for Keble Homes.

Mr Hale said: "We have sympathy with the current users of the site, however we believe and have taken advice that there are adequate facilities available in the town."

But Duncan Enright, the one councillor to abstain from the vote, argued none of the alternative locations listed were sufficient for MuzoAkademy's needs.

He said: "Lots of places have been mentioned for sessional use but none have the opportunity for permanent or semi-permanent use."

Every other councillor voted in favour of the proposal with the added note, with several voicing their desire to help MuzoAkademy find new premises.

Last month, the academy submitted an application to make the building an asset of community value in a bid to save the venue.

The organisation is part of the 7 C's foundation and chairman Jon Berry vowed after the meeting that they would keep fighting.

He said: "It's not going to be an easy thing to find somewhere appropriate for the number of people that we're working with and the range of needs that we've got."