ARCHITECTS behind a controversial building to replace an iconic family shop in Marlow have hit back at claims the modern structure would be a ‘carbuncle’ on the street scene.

A proposed corner building in place of Jollife’s dress hire shop - which has stood on Chapel Street for 45 years - has attracted criticism from neighbours for its squared, modern design.

Claremont Gardens resident Andrew Milsom is among those who have objected to the housing plans, claiming the new three-storey block of flats looks at odds with the rest of the street and with the listed building next door.

But applicants Meteor Chapel Developments insist the new building will ‘complement’ the traditional buildings surrounding it, citing an example of a modern design in the Netherlands.

Matthew Maier, director of Wycombe-based Brocklehurst Architects which created the plans, said: “We are an award-winning practice, we know Marlow and have done a lot of work there.

“We are conscious of the location in the conservation area, it is respectful and follow the proportions of the listed building (next door). Georgian buildings are very simple and not complicated and we have kept it simple.

“The current Jolliffe’s site is a bit of a muddle and doesn’t contribute much to the street scene. It is an important corner site and we cannot replicate the past without being pastiche. Example of mimicking historical buildings are far worse.

“We should respect the past but realise we are building for the future. Change and the new are always difficult but this will not jar.”

He also rebuffed criticism over the number of parking spaces allocated, insisting the council’s policy has been followed and that the firm does not want to turn the road into ‘one giant car park’.

Plans to redevelop the corner site include three flats and another two three bedroom semi-detached houses to the rear, with the listed building number 48 retained and turned into a four bedroom house.

As well as neighbours, Marlow Town Council has formally objected, claiming the plans would be an overdevelopment of the site and ‘unsympathetic to other buildings’ around it.

Jolliffe’s owner Geoff Jolliffe told the MFP last year that the formal hire business was up for sale after over four decades at the current premises.

He previosuly assured customers that business will relocate instead of closing for good.

Wycombe District Council is set to rule on the application next month.