CONTROVERSIAL plans to replace sheltered accommodation in Old Marston should be approved, but the local library should benefit as a result, according to a council report.

Oxford City Council planning officer Lisa Green has recommended councillors support the plan for Bradlands House in Mill Lane in principal.

But she says a final decision should be deferred so officers can agree a request from Oxford County Council to provide Old Marston Library with £1,801. The money would go towards library infrastructure and book stock. The application is due to be heard by the city council’s east area planning committee at a meeting on Thursday at 6pm.

The city council wants to knock down the U-shaped two-storey 1970s development of 30 homes for a three-storey block of 49.

Ms Green said the homes – part of a council drive to increase social housing – are “sub-standard” and must be replaced.

But Old Marston Parish Council said it would be out of keeping with the area and its “urban” design is “not suitable for a village area”.

It told the city council: “The intrusion of the suburban character of this development, including aggressive-sized building design, would detract from the rural character of the area.”

And it added that shops and public transport are “not adequate” for the extra residents.

Chairman Charlie Haynes has previously branded the plan a “monstrosity”.

Oxfordshire County Council , the highways authority, said the planned 16 parking spaces are not enough and urged refusal.

Guidelines for sheltered housing back 24 spaces and should be followed, it said.

Court Place, Oxford Road resident Charlotte Richie told the council she welcomed its “commitment to providing appropriate accommodation”.

But she said: “Its design is too large and too oppressive for this village, which is a conservation area.”

But the city council report says the scheme would have an “appropriate visual relationship with the surrounding area”.

Five of the 15 current households in Bradlands have said they want to move into the new block, part of city council plans for 112 new council homes by 2015.