11:40AM, Thursday 18 July 2013
The Metro Bank has been given the go-ahead to open in Windsor after an about turn by planning councillors.
The rapidly expanding banking company that was set up in 2010 has been welcomed with open arms in Slough, where MP Fiona Mactaggart and then Mayor of Slough, Cllr Chrissy Small attended a gala opening in Farnham Road in May.
But the initial planning application for Windsor was turned down by Royal Borough councillors, who did not like the proposed building's double height glass frontage and felt it would be out of keeping with Peascod Street.
Metro Bank's head of property Calum Ewing told members of the Royal Borough's urban development control panel last night that the new, amended application had reduced the amount of glass and the size of the signage.
But there was still strong opposition.
Raewyn Porteous from Windsor and Eton Society appealed to councillors to turn down the altered plan, saying: "They have made no real attempt to change anything. The plan still takes no account of the scale and character of the street."
Cllr George Bathurst (Con, Castle Without) said: "It is disappointing that the bank has submitted virtually the same application we turned down before, it is like a 'try and spot the difference competition' when you see both plans together."
Cllr Cynthia Endacott (Independent, Clewer North) said: "Why is it so 'in your face'? Why does it have to be so brash?"
But Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park) said that brashness reflected the new bank's American origins and were a mark of its success.
The amended plan got the go-ahead on the casting vote of the panel's chairman Cllr Jesse Grey (Con, Datchet) who agreed with Cllr Peter Lawless (Con, Eton Wick) that Peascod Street was now a diverse street that could comfortably accommodated a wide range of styles.
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