A £25M PLAN to house a collection of priceless books at a South Marston industrial estate has been given the thumbs up.

The proposals to build a storage facility for more than four million books from Oxford University’s world-famous Bodleian Library was warmly welcomed by councillors at last night’s planning committee meeting.

Work on the facility, which will be housed at the Keypoint Industrial Development, in South Marston, is now expected to begin in the autumn. Development is due to finish next year.

The proposals to build the facility, complete with access road, car parking, landscaping and a generator sub-station, were praised by councillors and voted through unanimously.

Coun Doreen Dart (Con, Blunsdon) said: “This is one of the best applications I have ever seen on this committee.

“It is absolutely wonderful that we are able to have this type of building in one of our wards.”

Coun Dart said previous applications for the site had all been deemed unsatisfactory, mainly because of concerns over noise and landscape issues.

She said: “I really approve of this application. This site has had a number of applications where the noise levels have been a problem.

“For this application that certainly won’t be the case. We have had meetings with the Bodleian Library and they have assured us that everything they have promised us will be delivered.”

The move comes after a previous plan to store the books on floodplains surrounding Oxford came under fire for endangering the books and ruining the city’s cherished views.

The books are being stored while a new building for the library is being refurbished.

Committee chairman Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) also welcomed the application. He said: “I hope this is the start of a collaboration between Swindon Council and Oxford University. I hope they can see that we are more helpful than some other councils.”

Coun Heenan went on to suggest that he would ideally like to see links developed between the Bodleian’s book storage and Swindon’s new central library.

Terry Gashe, speaking on behalf of the developers, said the university took the plans very seriously and was impressed with the level of co-operation shown in Swindon.

He also confirmed that the developers would pay a £20,000 contribution towards the Community Forest as part of the deal.

The Bodleian Library, which opened in 1602, has seen its book collection expand at a rate of 5,000 a week.

The current overflow of books, has swallowed up a number of buildings around Oxford and the New Bodleian has been declared 130 per cent full.