A MODERN development to replace an iconic Marlow business would be a ‘carbuncle’ and destroy the traditional street scene, according to neighbours who have slammed the project.
A proposed corner building in place of Jollife’s dress hire shop - which has stood on Chapel Street for 45 years - has attracted criticism for its square, 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.
He said: "Closer examination of the plans show that this is actually a huge carbuncle, visually appearing to be flat roofed, which dwarfs the historical assets of 48.
"No mention or respect is shown to the other listed buildings in the block between Claremont Gardens and Liston Road, nor the row of listed buildings opposite, nor the locally listed regency cottage on the other corner of Claremont Gardens.
"At present, one turns into Claremont Gardens and immediately gets a sense of space and tranquillity after the intensity of Chapel Street.
"A welcome vista of a tree-lined avenue with space provided by single-storey buildings set back from the pavement. The carbuncle will destroy this transition."
Mr Milsom, whose house is around the corner from Jolliffe’s, also said not enough parking spaces have been catered for, with 15 bedrooms in total and only seven spaces allocated.
As well as other 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.
Mr Jolliffe was not available for comment at time of going to press, but he has previously assured customers that business will relocate instead of closing for good.
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.
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. 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 is always difficult but this will not jar.”
He added that the council’s policy on parking has been followed, and that the firm does not want to turn the road into ‘one giant car park’.
WDC is set to rule on the application next month.