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Last orders for pub as flat conversion looms
LAST orders have been called on a once thriving pub - prompting campaigners to claim democracy has failed.
Councillors put the final nail in the coffin on Wednesday night for the Plough in Little Marlow Road, Marlow as they approved plans to demolish it on Wednesday night.
The building will be turned into six flats.
The decision to give the proposal the green light came despite over 200 residents signing a petition against it.
Neighbours fear their already congested streets will be further blighted by extra cars.
Leading protester Sue Winter, speaking for the Green Verges Neighbourhood Watch Group, said she felt let down by councillors.
Mrs Winter and volunteers had gone exhaustively knocking door to door to prove the swell of popular support their campaign had.
"They've voted for it despite our petition with over 200 names," she said.
"It's over development, the parking is going to be a nightmare and they pretty much agreed with that. It's terrible.
"I feel that democracy has failed."
The pendulum had appeared to be swinging the way of the protesters, with Mrs Winter's arguments garnering support from various members of Wycombe District Council's planning committee.
Cllr Alan Hill, once a regular at the pub, said: "It used to be a fantastic watering hole and it's very sad to see it's demise," he said.
"I think it's a vast over development of the site and the parking will be terrible problem in the area."
Cllr Alan Turner said: "I never like to see the loss of a pub, we are losing them on such a regular basis it's very frightening. My concern is again, the parking, which is completely inadequate."
Cllr Morgan agreed saying parking would be "woefully inadequate", as did Cllr Roger Emmett.
Yet, backing from members for a rejection collapsed when an officer said parking alone would not stand up as a reason for throwing it out at an appeal.
Concerns were expressed that the council would be likely to lose and face a hefty bill and the plans were approved nine votes to two.
Jason Lee, from Bowens Consultancy, speaking for the developers, said: "Considerable time and effort has been made by all parties in preparation of this application to ensure it complies with the council's policies."
He said it would enhance the entrance to Marlow, traffic movements would reduce compared to when it was a pub, and parking provided accorded with the authority's standards.
The owners said it was no longer viable as a pub due to high costs, strong competition and had also suffered from problems with anti-social behaviour.
The group did not oppose the pub being converted in principle but said if homes had to be built then there should only be four flats at the most to reduce the number of cars.