PLANS to expand made by one of Cirencester’s largest employers have prompted concerns from residents about the effect it will have on parking spaces in the town.
Chairman of the planning committee at Cirencester Town Council Geoffrey Adams said he was concerned that 450 employees would be moving into the new building, which will be based right next to the current building on Tetbury Road, but less than 100 car parking spaces would be provided.
"The proposed new building would be built over the existing open air car park, which currently has 77 spaces," said Cllr Adams after the most recent planning committee meeting. "These will therefore be lost. There would be 68 new spaces created within the new building, but that is nine less than before."
Cirencester Town Council met last week to discuss the planning application submitted to Cotswold District Council which will see a new three storey office building built in the space next to St James' Place on Hammond Road. There will also be a new vehicle access point, undercroft car parking, parking for bicycles and landscaping.
The council is concerned that although extra parking is provided in the application, there will be less parking spaces for both buildings than there is currently, despite the new building planning to hold 450 new employees.
However, Cllr Roly Hughes said at the meeting: "I have been assured that there will be 450 employees but they will not be using the spaces all at the same time."
Councillors feel that there should be plans for extra parking in the town or on the outskirts for employees or a contribution towards future town centre improvements. A park and ride scheme was also suggested.
Concerns were also raised about the height of the new building. Although the plans show the roof line to be level with the roof line of the existing building, the council wants to make certain this is not an artist's impression. Members are also worried the size of the building might impose upon surrounding areas.
Cllr Patrick Coleman said: "I think it is important to make a statement about it being overbearing in size. I'm positive about the efforts St James' Place have made to be engaged with the community. I hope there can be a certain flexibility."
Mayor of Cirencester Cllr Joe Harris said that the work the wealth management company was doing was great but that there were real concerns in the community.
"Parking and congestion are big issues," he said.
The council is supporting the plans on the condition a section 106 agreement is put in place on parking and improvements to the town.