PLANS to radically alter one of Worcester's least-loved buildings and introduce two new restaurants to the city have been approved.

Work on a major overhaul of the Cathedral Plaza could be complete within months after Worcester City Council's planning committee approved plans that will see the building's 1960s exterior changed dramatically and two new upmarket restaurant chains set up inside.

The building's management has expressed hopes the imminent arrival of The Handmade Burger Company and multi-ethnic' restaurant chain Jimmy Spices will help create a new food quarter' on the south side of the city centre.

Planning committee members yesterday agreed that while in an ideal world they would like to see the whole building torn down, the renovation plans at least represented an improvement on its current appearance.

Labour councillor Paul Denham said: "Clearly, what is already there is totally and utterly out of keeping with the setting, opposite the cathedral. I personally think this is an improvement."

Tory councillor Andy Roberts agreed, saying: "There's only one good view of this place - and that's inside it looking out. The new Pizza Express has a certain vibrancy to it at night and if this is going to add to that it's to be welcomed."

The existing brown brickwork will be covered with white cladding and the ground-floor shopfronts facing out on to the cathedral roundabout revamped.

The only dissenting voices to the decision were those of Conservative councillor David Tibbutt and Labour member Pam Clayton.

"This is undoubtedly an improvement on what we've got, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's what we want," Coun Tibbutt said.