Tempers flared on Wednesday night as councillors pushed through controversial plans for a new car park in Gerrards Cross that campaigners have described as a “white elephant” – with shouts of “disgrace” and “your committee is a joke” ringing out from the public gallery.

A new 433-space car park for Station Road in a bid to tackle parking problems in the town centre were given the go-ahead by South Bucks District Council’s planning committee on August 15 – to the dismay of residents who have spent months campaigning against it.

The existing car park will be extended 4.5 floors with an additional 320 spaces.

Cllr Chris Brown, mayor of Gerrards Cross, defended the plans, saying expanding the car park is the “only viable short-term option to meet parking need” – but Dr Rhiannon Rowsell, who addressed the committee on behalf of the residents who objected to the plans – said the “ugly metal box” was a “piecemeal solution”.

She said: “Two hundred and forty objections have been made and no letters of support and despite promises by councillors, there has been no proper public consultation. If this car park is built, it will be the second largest in Gerrards Cross after Tesco.

“Its size, design and impact on the community would irrevocably change the heart of the town.

“There is no parking policy to address the problems – that is what residents need. These plans should be put on hold until one is produced.

“This oversized car park will be a white elephant and a waste of taxpayer money. This proposal needs a complete rethink. Do not destroy the character and amenity of Gerrards Cross.”

Hugh Shepherd, speaking on behalf of the developer, said the new car park would be a “significant step to improve the viability of the town centre.”

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of the plans – with members of the audience erupting in anger at the decision.

Furious residents called the town council and members of the planning committee an “absolute joke” and accused the council of not listening to the public.