PLANS for a new three storey building next to the current St James’s Place office in Cirencester have been approved by Cotswold District Council subject to two conditions.

The building, with a planned floorspace of 4,860 square metres, must get the approval of the county council’s highways department and St James Place must also sign a legal agreement to donate £25,000 towards improving the town centre.

Councillors at the meeting on October 8 praised the good design of the building and welcomed the positive economic impact the expansion was likely to have on the town.

Although concerns about parking persisted a plan has been submitted to the district council detailing where staff will park while building work takes place.

Concerns about English Heritage’s complaints were dismissed by the town council’s lead member for planning, Cllr Geoffrey Adams.

He argued that the report from the English Heritage was full of contradictions and that the reasoning they applied to recommend refusing the plan was flawed.

He concluded: “On behalf of Cirencester Town Council may I say that we warmly welcomes the proposed extension of the activities of  St. James’s Wealth Management in Cirencester and are pleased to hear that the company is committed to remaining in the town for the long term.

Cirencester Mayor Joe Harris added: “The fact that we have only had three objections to this application, on an application this size, shows the high regard that residents hold St James’s Place in.”

Only one member, Cllr David Broad, objected when the plans went to a vote.

He said that he voted against the plans because sooner or later the business was bound to want to expand again and accused Cirencester Town Council of suffering from a lack of imagination.

He said: “I just think they should have combined the new building and the old T H White site or joined the two of them in some way.”