Plans to replace an “unfit for purpose” hostel miles outside of High Wycombe with a new modular building on the site of a town centre car park will now go back to the drawing board after councillors urged housing chiefs to rethink the new location.

The Bucks Free Press revealed last year that Saunderton Lodge, a hostel providing temporary accommodation to vulnerable people in need, could be shut down and instead a bigger unit could be placed on the Desborough Road car park – but the proposals would be subject to a planning application.

Ten months after the plans were first outlined, councillors have told housing chief, Cllr Julia Langley, to take them back to the drawing board – and find a more suitable location than a much-needed town centre car park.

At a meeting of the High Wycombe town committee on Monday night, Cllr Lesley Clarke said the car park location is “not the right place” for vulnerable families to be living – and said the town does not need to “lose any more parking”, especially as shop owners in the area rely on the availability of parking for customers.

Cllr Ray Farmer suggested that as Bucks County Council is moving its staff from its old Easton Street office into the old library on Queen Victoria Road, the empty office building could be refurbished and used for housing instead.

He said: “The building is close to town and the railway station and there is space for parking there. it is about time we did some decent for the vulnerable and the homeless.”

Cllr Tony Green added: “It is unfair to assume that just because the residents at the hostel are homeless that they will not have cars or friends or family visiting who have cars. There is very little provision for parking in these plans.

“There is lots of land coming up for development around the district – I think other sites could be considered instead. As well as shoppers, there are three churches in the area and they will struggle without the car park.”

Cllr Langley, who was providing an update on the plans with Brian Daly, housing services manager at Wycombe District Council, said she would take the suggestions on board and look at the options.