AN INFLUENTIAL heritage group has urged a council to ditch plans to turn open land into a temporary overflow car-park for The Rye.

The High Wycombe Society believes there are better options available to Wycombe District Council than ‘permanently disfiguring’ Marsh Green by installing knee-high rails to accommodate additional visitors to The Rye.

Andrew Taylor wrote to WDC to express the society’s concerns about the proposals to allow free temporary parking for up to 28 days this summer.

He wrote: “As you are aware, there is considerable local opposition to this proposal, not least from within the membership of the High Wycombe Society.

“Marsh Green is seen as a focal point for the Bassetsbury Conservation Area, in much the same way as a village views its village green.

“Marsh Green is currently a high-quality green space kept in pristine condition. Allowing cars to park on it would compromise its quality and would cause a prominent, untidy and unwelcome visual intrusion.

“Installing knee rails ten metres “inland” along the back stream, as would be necessary to protect the river, would represent a permanent visual disfigurement.”

Mr Taylor goes on to point out alternative options – including the authority investing money into improving public transport or allowing people to park on the grass adjacent to the existing car-park by the Wycombe Rye Lido.

He wrote: “Holywell Mead seems better suited for overspill parking from the Rye Lido car park, as already happens when there are events on the Rye.

“Alternatively, it might be possible to direct traffic to other car parks in the area, such as the one next to Trinity Church.

“Even better, with The Rye being so close to the town centre, WDC and Fusion could invest resources in promoting alternative means of transport - buses, trains, walking - rather than encouraging car use by providing free parking.

“We understand that each of the above alternative options has its logistical difficulties. However, we would urge WDC to look more closely at these options rather than despoil a beautiful riverside green space that is valued by many.”

WDC said the overspill car-park plan was put in motion due to the high volumes of people flocking to The Rye last summer – which sparked complaints that there were not enough parking spaces available.

It added: “Overflow parking will help visitors manage where and how they park and help to keep the site safe for people visiting on foot.

“We have written to local residents inviting their views but if the suggestion proves unpopular, we won’t go ahead with the idea.”

Cllr Trevor Snaith called the parking proposals for the green “utter madness.”