A business centre will be converted into 21 retirement flats after new plans were given the green light this week – despite residents’ concerns over privacy and parking.

Wycombe District Councillors unanimously approved the plans by housebuilder Renaissance Retirement to knock down Wharf Lane Business Centre, in Bourne End, and build sheltered retirement apartments in its place with 21 associated parking spaces.

A number of residents objected to the initial plans, submitted last year, which had balconies overlooking the south side of the building, over fears that occupants of the flats would be able to see into their homes and gardens, which were then changed by the developers.

Speaking on behalf of objecting residents at a meeting of the planning committee this week, Alex Lidgate said while they were not opposed to the development of the site in the manner proposed, they felt that the current plans “lack the accuracy and the detail” to satisfy them that they would not get “caught out by nasty surprises” once it was built.

He said: “We welcome the steps taken by the developer in their previous design to remove some of the balconies and the overlooking issues, but we do feel several issues still remain for the neighbours and we believe that the treatment of these issues are either unclear or unsuitable for the purpose.

“In apartment 20 and 2 we have a third floor window which are directly overlooking into the property Jalmer and also number 12 Southbourne Drive.

“This is one of the areas that the balcony was removed but it is not clear what is going in its place in terms of a window – whether it is clear glass to the floor or a standard window.”

But councillors, including ward member Cllr Tony Lee, said the development would be an improvement to what was already there.

Cllr Lee said: “Anything that goes on that site is an improvement.

“I think the design is attractive and it fits in well with the site.”

Cllr Chris Whitehead said: “There are many features of this site that I like. 21 parking spaces will be very adequate,” while Cllr Hugh McCarthy commented: “If I was living there, I would be very pleased with the development.

“It will change the area significantly. It is a very well thought out plan.”

The building work is expected to start early in the new year and will open in 2019.

Chris Goddard, chairman of Renaissance Retirement, said: “This is great news – for Renaissance Retirement and the town.

“We believe we have a fantastic scheme that will make the people of Bourne End proud.”

Peter Tanner, planning director at Renaissance Retirement, said: “The site is perfect for people who live in and around Bourne End.

“It is located within an easy level walk of the town centre shops.

“It is ideal for retired people looking to downsize and will free up over 20 family sized homes in the area which are much needed in the second hand housing market.

“It will also bring investment into the town through local tradesman employed on site.”