THE site of a former Bicester discount store will finally be developed after a third set of plans were approved by councillors.

Montpelier Estates got planning permission to build 40 assisted-living homes at the former Winners site, in Victoria Road. The plot of land has been vacant for more than a year.

In 2012, the firm submitted proposals for a 60-bed care home, which were rejected by Cherwell District Council.

Last year, new plans to build a 36-home assisted living complex were refused because of a failure to resolve developer contributions. The plan was later dismissed at appeal. Cherwell and Oxfordshire councils had asked for almost £50,000 towards providing adult day care, £18,000 for public transport and £10,000 for footpath improvements.

In the latest set of plans, Oxfordshire county Council only asked for a total of £9,200 towards libraries, waste management, a museum resource centre and administration.

The county council said a technical change in the type of development meant it could not claim more.

A county council spokesman said: “Cherwell District Council approved the 40-flat application, giving it a C2 classification. This generates fewer contributions, as the previous 36-flat scheme had been rated as C3.”

A Cherwell spokesman denied the classification had been changed. He said the planning inspector had warned the county council it should only claim cash if it could be justified.

He said: “Incorrect. This has always been a C2 application.

“This time around the applicant has agreed the latest requirements – so all agreed.” The existing buildings at the third-of-a-hectare site will be demolished to make way for the new three-storey flats.

Onsite facilities will include a cinema, activity room and reception area, as well as two gardens and a 20 parking spaces.

After the meeting, Bob Duxbury, development control team leader, said: “Evidence recognises there will be a 24 per cent increase in over-65s in the district by 2033 – so this proposal represents an opportunity to address this particular aspect of housing need.”