AN AMBITIOUS project to build a landmark 75-foot glass tower overlooking Worcester has been given the go-ahead.
The £10million cultural quarter scheme, at the former Worcester Porcelain building in Severn Street, was unanimously approved at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee yesterday .
Members heard the council had received a flood of positive comments since the tower was exclusively revealed in your Worcester News last week.
But although members were largely in favour of the plans, many said they were concerned it was not clear exactly what the tower would look like.
Councillor Roger Knight said: “This will really put Worcester on the map, but it would be great to have some more artists’ impressions.
“What is it really going to look like?
“How is it going to sit on the site as a whole?”
Cllr Dr David Tibbutt agreed, saying he felt uncomfortable with making a decision on a plan which was not fully complete.
“It’s going to be very iconic and we’ve got no clue what it’s really going to look like,” he said.
“All we’ve seen is something stuck up with a bit of orange on it.”
Cllr Robert Rowden said it was important the tiles used on the tower were high-quality to match the vision of the scheme.
“I remember going to Warwick University which was tiled and a lot of them were falling off,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything like that.”
Following concerns the tower could dominate the city’s cathedral, members heard its highest point would be more than 100 feet lower than the cathedral tower.
Although the committee were almost in for a shock when planning officer Alan Coleman accidentally referred to the height as abeing “200 metres” rather than “20 metres”.
The plans include a new theatre, cafés, restaurants and three open courtyards, as well as 34 units for rent and it is hoped it will help the city’s bid to be the UK’s City of Culture 2021.
Cllr Lynn Denham said she was concerned the way traffic flowed would make it difficult to access the site.
“We all want it to be a really successful addition to the city and bring more visitors,” she said.
“But there is an increasing problem around traffic flow around the whole system.
“There is going to be more and more traffic, which will have to loop around and around.”
The committee agreed unanimously to approve the scheme – which is being funded by retired city businessman and philanthropist Colin Kinnear – on the condition that any elements of the design will also have to come before members before building work begins.
The new quarter is expected to be open by May 2015.