Proposals to route a new bypass through a quiet residential part of Princes Risborough could “erode the rural and historic character” of the area, according to conservation experts.

The Chilterns Conservation Board has called for a rethink to the plans which would divert traffic off the A4010 onto Shootacre Lane.

The comments follow a protest by around 80 residents from Shootacre Lane, Picts Lane and Horsenden last month.

Sue Holden, Chief Officer at the Chilterns Conservation Board, said: “The relief road proposals with potential new roads in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty need a re-think.

“‘Improving’ then drawing high volumes of traffic onto rural lanes with soft edge verges, no street lighting, and hardly any road markings could irreparably spoil their rural character.

“New road options west of the town could erode the rural and historic character of Horsenden and impact on the Horsenden Brook which is a chalk stream, a globally rare habitat.

“The Chilterns AONB is a unique and special place, its character and habitats are sensitive to change and once gone cannot be replaced.”

The bypass plan is part of the Princes Risborough Town Plan (PRTP), a proposal from Wycombe District Council (WDC) which includes the building of up to 2,500 homes - a move that would almost double the size of the town.

Shootacre Lane resident Monica Nelson, who co-coordinates the Bypass ActioN Group (BANG), said: “This is an important AONB area which is much-used and valued by the local community.

“Extreme care needs to be taken to preserve and protect it for future generations.”

More than 100 residents have signed the BANG consultation response, which has been submitted to WDC together with an independent transport study.

BANG co-coordinator Philip Hayes said: “There seems to be a general feeling that the people pushing the PRTP simply have no concern for or even understanding of how these proposals will destroy the character of the town its residents have chosen to settle in.”

WDC has shortlisted two options for the western relief route, one of which continues along Picts Lane and the other heads to the east of Horsenden.

BANG have requested a meeting with the council who confirmed yesterday that a meeting will take place in the near future.