Plans to build an office block in Marlow have been delayed due to parking concerns.

Developers wanted to build a two-story office building on land behind Natwest bank in the High Street, with associated bin and cycle stores, and a new pedestrian access.

The development would see around six of the current nine car parking spaces in Liston Road lost, according to Bucks County Council’s (BCC) highways development manager, Armid Akram.

Wycombe District Council’s planning committee voted to defer the decision and go back to Bucks County Council to get evidence about how the development, and “displaced parking” as a result, could affect on-street parking in the area.

In their heritage impact statement, Courestype Ltd said the proposals include an “attractive new commercial space in the heart of the town centre, with the building designed in a more sympathetic manner than some of those existing around it”.

They said: “Currently the site is tarmacked over and used as private parking for the employees of the bank, therefore having no public benefit.”

Martin Blunkell, The Marlow Society chairman, asked Wycombe District Council’s planning committee to “stand-up” to BCC, after Mr Akram said in a letter: “Overall, whilst I am aware of the parking situation in Marlow, given the site’s town centre location which makes use of public car parks and parking/waiting restrictions in the form of double yellow lines along Liston Road, I would be unable to sustain a reason for refusal at an appeal scenario.”

Mr Blunkell said: “This application seeks to remove six parking spaces from the centre of Marlow. If six is all right with Bucks then why not seven? Why not eight? Where do you stop?

“Please challenge the sloping shoulders of county. Please be seen to be standing up to Bucks County. Please insist on the application of the full current parking guidance policy in this case.

“Help…by refusing this application and closing the door on future attempts to worsen the parking problem in Marlow.”

Jeremy Evans, who was speaking on behalf of the applicant as an agent, said it was incorrect that there were nine parking spaces which belonged to the bank – he said the bank had sold all but three parking spaces and the other six were there “ purely at the behest” of the owners.

The committee's deputy chairman Cllr Alan Turner said the building itself did not seem to be posing an issue and it came down to the parking.

He said: “The problem I have with this is that there is a large public car park just a few yards away [the Waitrose car park].

“I do understand all the issues relating to parking in the centre of Marlow…it is bad in lots of places all around the district.

“I think there is an issue to be addressed there but not to do with this particular application. I don’t think that it would warrant refusal in this case.”

But Cllr Neil Marshall said the off-street car parks were “designed primarily for shopping” due to their rates, and people working in the town tend to park in the side streets, which he said are “absolutely full about half a mile from the town centre”.

He added: “It is a big problem. We are now displacing 13 places. I don’t follow the argument that parking spaces for six has been sold because who has applied for development on this land?

“So there are six being taken up by development, there would be seven needed for the office development – that’s 13 more displaced parking spaces. To go where? There isn’t enough capacity.”

Cllr Chris Whitehead asked the committee to consider deferring the decision until BCC could provide evidence of how the lost parking spaces could affect on-street parking, since its research so far had only looked at off-street car parks, according to WDC’s development officer, Alastair Nicholson.

Committee chairman Cllr Paul Turner said: “We have voted to defer, to take this back to the county council so we can be absolutely sure that the consultee has done a diligent job in their consultation.”