A Marlow resident and Rotarian has spoken out after it was announced that a petition which garnered thousands of signatures against controversial parking plans for Marlow’s town centre only counted as one vote.

Marlow Town Council’s (MTC) petition against introducing paid-for parking in the High Street and surrounding area had “overwhelming support” from the community, with 7,500 people saying no to the proposals by Bucks County Council (BCC).

But BCC has reportedly said all 7,500 signatures “only count as one” and residents will have to have their say again in a consultation that kicks off today (Friday) – a move that the town council is protesting against.

Resident Lance Slater slammed the move, asking if “anybody at BCC ever listens to what the people ever say”.

He said: “How dare they say that. How dare they come to such a conclusion? What sort of democracy do we live in?

“As an ordinary citizen of Marlow I was very pleased to be one of the many helpers to collect the signatures for the petition against the BCC proposals for parking meters in the centre of Marlow.

“The petition was all conducted in a completely open and above board manner, and at times I had a line-up of people wanting to add their names to the list – so strong was the feeling against this completely unwanted, unnecessary, and unjustified scheme.”

The county council said while the petition “reflects the strength of feeling” about the proposals, for formal consultations on changes to traffic orders, a petition is “technically one objection, but is supported by all of the signatories”.

Spokesman Helen Fincher said the petition would be taken into account when the deputy leader and cabinet member for transport, Mark Shaw, makes his decision following the BCC consultation, which runs until March 10.

Marlow Town Council, which has been vocal in its fight against the plans, is urging Marlovians to have their say and say why they are for or against the proposals in the consultation.

Mayor Jocelyn Towns said: “They [BCC] say the primary objectives are ‘improving road safety, reducing congestion and improving turnover of parking through better managed on-street parking’ – but we’ve pointed out to them many times that road safety and congestion are not a problem and our on-street parking works extremely well.

“We’re also appalled that BCC’s plan includes removing yellow lines from outside All Saints Church and putting in meters. How will weddings and funerals cope with no place to stop?”

Ms Fincher said: “Parking and congestion in and around Marlow can be a problem for residents and drivers alike, especially at busy times.

“Improving road safety, reducing congestion and improving turnover of parking through better managed on-street parking are the primary objectives of these proposals.”

As part of the consultation, a drop-in session planned on February 15 at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School between 1.30-7.30pm.

The online link for people to have their say will be made public on Friday. Any responses submitted before this date will not be counted.