RESIDENTS and businesses have raised fears over the impact and safety of a huge new development which could completely alter the eastern gateway to Marlow.

The controversial plans to demolish Windsor House on the corner of Spittal and Dean Streets and replace it with shops and cafes received a mixed response since they emerged last month.

As well as criticisms over the mock-Georgian design, neighbours are voicing concerns over the height, density and cramped parking facilities the three-storey building could create.

And the owner of Cherry Tree House on Dean Street, which stands directly next to the proposed site, has objected to what he calls the “vast overdevelopment” of the site.

Derek Pink is worried about the safety of pedestrians and traffic chaos that might be created around the Dean Street junction if the bid is given the go-ahead.

In an objection to the council, he said: “Although we have no objections to the redevelopment of Windsor House, we consider the rear development of the existing car park would create a cramped form of parking for such a high density of dwellings.

“The access to the basement car park, by way of a lift, is certain to cause congestion at the narrow access to Dean Street, as is the inevitable manoeuvring of vehicles at ground floor level.

“There would also be considerable danger for people using the pedestrian crossing at this very busy roundabout.”

As well as safety fears, there is also concern from the nearby Methodist church, which is worried about the loss of light into its Wesley Hall. And neighbours on Klondyke fear their properties will be dwarfed by the tallest of the the group of buildings, which in total would provide 14 new homes along with retail space.

Nathan Craker, development manager for Shanly Group, has defended the project, saying both the appearance and layout of the new build has been carefully considered.

He said: “We have given a great deal of thought to the design of the new development on the site of Windsor House; having taken on board both the heritage and vernacular architecture of the area we are very proud of the design our team has developed for the scheme.

“We take on board all the comments made in response to our application and look forward to hearing feedback from Wycombe District Council in due course.”

Windsor House was home to the offices of HMV until the company vacated last year and has remained empty ever since.

The council has already warned developers that the plans would only be approved if it could be proved that the space was "no longer practicable for employment generating purposes".

But developer Shanly Group claims there has been very little interest from tenants in taking up the office space due its dated appearance and poor floor space layout.

WDC is expected to rule on the application by June.