A LAW firm’s plans to create a new “gateway into Bolton” have been given resounding approval from councillors.

Proposals by Asons Solicitors for a £7 million office at the site of the former Bolton College building in Clarence Street — creating up to 300 jobs — were given the go-ahead at yesterday’s planning committee.

The luxury five-storey development will include offices, a restaurant, meeting rooms for networking and corporate events, a rooftop garden and a huge screen visible from the A666 St Peter’s Way.

Bolton Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, commended the “spectacular” development, adding that he hoped it would be a catalyst for the regeneration of that part of the town centre.

He said: It’s good for the town, it’s regeneration at its best and I look forward to it being built.”

Deputy leader Cllr Linda Thomas added that the siting of the new building would improve the whole image of Bolton.

She said: “I know this is an up and coming firm and I’m quite happy to lose it from my ward because it’s going to be able to employ even more staff.

“I think it’s going to make a big difference to Bolton.”

The new development, off Topp Way, is just yards from founder brothers Kamran and Imran Akram’s first home, after their father Mohammed moved with his family from Pakistan to Bolton in 1972 to work in Wolfenden Mill.

The law firm, which specialises in personal injury claims, is currently the biggest employer in Bolton town centre, with more than 200 staff working at its current Bark Street offices.

The work is expected to be completed by 2015, and Asons said it wants 70 per cent of the workforce to be sourced locally.

Asons has also agreed to spend £75,000 to improving the area around St George’s Street and Bridge Street, and security measures on the St Peter’s Way underpass.

The council will now look at the application to secure the final legal agreements before work can officially start.