THE BIGGEST building ever to be put up in Swindon has been given planning permission by Swindon Borough Council.

A distribution centre for B&Q the size of 20 football pitches was given the go-ahead by the council’s planning committee last night.

It will bring more than 600 new jobs to the town at a time where there have been a number of losses and the site represents an investment of £77.4 million.

The deal was shrouded in secrecy for commercial reasons back in 2008 when ouline planning permission was granted.

But at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday night, the applicant Donald Morgan, from Gazely Ltd, confirmed that B&Q would be taking over the site.

The company will be paying for roadworks and making contribution of £700k for a community forest and £150k for community art.

But councillors were not without concerns.

Coun Andy Albinson said he would not be happy if the financial contributions the company makes were spent outside the ward area the depot falls within.

Coun Anthony Peake was concerned that about drainage and if the building would lead to local streams flooding.

But the committee voted through the plans and work was due to start today on the site so that it is up and running by January 2012.

The building will be built on the triangle betweeen Highworth Road and Kingsdown Road off the A361 in an area which is known as Gazeley G-Park.

The current B&Q centre at Groundwell will be closed and the 125 staff employed there will be offered jobs at the new centre.

B&Q decided to set up a new regional centre in the south for high volume products, bringing goods closer to the stores to improve customer service as well as reducing transport miles, transport costs and therefore CO2 emissions.

The new 796,649 sq ft depot will also include key environmental initiatives such as rainwater harvesting.

The huge building will be clad in shades of blue and grey so it will ‘fade’ from dark at the base to light at the top to minimise its impact when viewed against the sky.

Paul Briggs, the Chief Executive of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce group, said the announcement was tremendous for Swindon.

“This is fabulous news for the local economy and local opportunities,” he said.

“It has come at a time when there is doom and gloom about the national state of play and just goes to show how much confidence there is in Swindon.

“It also is going to be doing something for the environment with the reduction in CO2 emissions which is a plus.”