Marlow businesses and residents have hit out at new parking measures planned for the town’s High Street and surrounding roads, saying they will “destroy the shopping” in the town.

It comes after Bucks County Council approved plans for the controversial measures, which will see parking charges introduced where there are currently “limited waiting bays”, where people can park for free for one hour between 8am and 6.30pm with no return within an hour.

The council wants to charge people £1 per hour or 20p per 12 minutes in a bid to encourage more people to use off-street car parks, which are cheaper, to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Anthony Cox, chairman of the Marlow Chamber, said the proposals were “ill-thought out” and did not address the “long-standing” parking issues in Marlow.

He said: “The proposals put forward by BCC won’t work because the off-street car parks are always full.

“This is rather arbitrary and it doesn’t offer any solution to the difficulties of car parking in Marlow.

“It is an ill-thought out policy.”

His sentiments were echoed by some businesses in the High Street, who said the new measures could potentially cause them to lose trade.

Jacquie Mills, manager at Huttons, said BCC was “destroying the shopping” in Marlow with the plans.

She said: “I think it will be even more difficult to park once it goes pay-and-display. People will put in the maximum amount they can on there so they can stay for longer.

“Retailers have suffered big-time because of the parking.”

Resident Lance Slater said the changes would “disfigure the town completely”.

He said: “It is absolutely scandalous. I don’t know how they have the right up in Aylesbury to determine we need to have parking measures in our old traditional town.

“It will disfigure it completely and is completely unnecessary.”

But Tiago Silva at Marlow Bar & Grill said pay-and-display was “the way forward”.

He said: “I don’t really think this one-hour parking space is very practical. You can just change spaces [once the hour runs out].

“At least with pay-and-display you pay for the actual time you are going to spend. And the council needs the money.

“I think it’s going to lower the time people will stay in a parking space.”

In a report to the deputy leader and cabinet member for transportation, Simon Dando, Transport for Bucks’ contract director, wrote: “There will be some within the community who do not want change and do not want to pay for parking.

“There may also be concerns that the introduction of paid parking could have a detrimental effect on business.

“In response the council takes the view that those who use a service should pay for, or contribute towards the cost of that service.

“In towns (like Marlow) that attract a lot of visitors from outside the area, it is also reasonable that they should not have free parking that is paid for indirectly by Buckinghamshire residents.

“The introduction of paid parking in itself is not a detractor from visitors to an area.

“The Portas report into the health and viability of High Streets did not see paid parking as a drawback – it was the lack of parking or its inconvenience that was seen as a more significant issue.”

BCC is expected to carry out a public consultation on the plans, dates for which have not been announced yet.