AN INFLUENTIAL voice in Marlow held its AGM last week, with members inviting the district's head planning officer to discuss the town's future.

The Marlow Society, which has over 600 members and strives to preserve and protect the town, convened at the United Reformed Church, Oxford Road on Thursday, May 1.

The main speaker was WDC's Penelope Tollitt, who as head of planning and sustainability is at the centre of the consultation over Marlow's future as planners and councillors seek to accommodate growth throughout the district.

Ms Tollitt covered the main points in Wycombe District Council's major new Local Plan consultation, which is seeking a solution over where to build up to 700 homes and new businesses per year until 2031.

A response to the Local Plan consultation has been drawn up by society members, with issues including the River Thames, protection of the AONB, affordable homes and transport provision seen as vital to the success of the plan.

Long serving Marlow Society trustee Tony Reeve stepped down from the role at the annual meeting, with Michael New OBE taking his place.

Chairman Martin Blunkell also praised Peter Bailey, Patricia Burstall and Geoff Wood for their hard work organising society events during the last 12 months.

But Mr Blunkell was critical of the county council's response to parking problems in Marlow, as well as the delay in fixing the obelisk structure at the top of the High Street.

The Marlow Society was formed in 1958, originally as the Marlow Bridge Preservation Society to prevent the 1832 suspension bridge from being dismantled and replaced by a modern structure.

Today, the group continues to take an active role in the preservation and development of Marlow, the surrounding villages and countryside as a whole.