A SHOP in Cirencester has been dubbed a "grey monstrosity" by neighbours who were angry they were not consulted about a last minute colour change.

New designer fabrics shop Vanessa Arbuthnott in Ashcroft Road has been criticised by residents living opposite, who said they would never have given the plans approval if they knew the front was going to be painted dark grey.

The plans originally showed a wooden front, similar to the front of New Brewery Arts, which residents were pleased with as they thought it would enhance the area.

"My house is a lot darker since that grey monstrosity appeared over the road," said Ashcroft Road resident and mum-of two Benita Cegarra. "The previous building used to be further back and white. It also seemed a lot smaller. It's the first thing I see when I open a the curtains in the morning.

"My sitting room feels like its the middle of winter."

But a spokesman for Cotswold District Council (CDC) said residents were not consulted about the colour change as the planning department did not believe it would affect them.

Benita's next door neighbour Vicky Sissons, 40, said she had spoken to 10 residents of Ashcroft Road who all felt the same. She is planning on launching a petition to show how many people are opposed to the building in its current state.

"Everyone who passes it on the street has something negative to say. I haven't heard anyone say 'wow, that's beautiful', said Vicky. "It's not in keeping with Cirencester. For me, it's not that I'm expecting the colour to be changed. I think it's a fault with the planning department.

"There is also a big window at the top of the building which looks into every room of my house.

"I just don't understand how the planning department can make that sort of change without consulting anyone."

Another neighbour, Nigel Laight described the building as a "looming dark shadow" in the street. He said: "I'm amazed that the dark colour would have been approved. The original proposal was for a natural wooden cladding to stay in keeping with the Brewery Arts.

"My nephew, aged seven, stayed over at mine the other night and asked if it was haunted."

Vanessa Arbuthnott, who owns the new shop, said she has not heard any criticisms. She is urging those who are unhappy to come and have a chat with her.

"We invited all the neighbours to our opening, so it was like a community affair," she said. "No-one said they were unhappy. The planners were very keen to move the design forward and not just be about the conservation.

"All we want to be is part of the community; we wanted to do something interesting, not offensive."

Neighbour Vicky filed an official complaint to Cotswold District Council's (CDC) planning department about residents not being consulted and head of planning Philippa Lowe explained it was because the proposed changes did not alter the height, scale, design or other features.

Ms Lowe explained: "So in terms of any potential adverse impact on neighbours’ amenities such as loss of light, overlooking or encroachment, no change resulted."

What do you think of the colour of the shop? Email mar@wiltsglosstandard.co.uk to share your views.