Councillors have agreed to spend £200,000 on hiring someone to help regenerate High Wycombe town centre – amid years of complaints that the town’s public areas are a “disaster”.

Wycombe District Council is hoping to start recruiting someone “as soon as possible” who will become responsible for making improvements to the town centre.

It comes after dozens of complaints from shoppers and councillors alike about the state of the town centre.

In March this year, Cllr Julia Wassell said the town’s public areas have been “wrecked” and in June, Cllr Sebert Graham complained that High Wycombe has “one of the worst high streets”.

The £200,000 will pay for a member of staff for three years and will be funded from an £18.5 million pot of money dedicated to making town centre improvements.

In a report to cabinet on September 17, a raft of potential improvement measures were outlined – including some that were envisaged as part of the town centre masterplan that have not yet been put in place.

These include creating a “pocket park” on the green space within the “magic roundabout” at the gyratory at the bottom of Marlow Hill and extra improvements to Oxford Road outside Sainsbury’s.

Other projects that are on a “long list” of schemes that could be funded by the £18.5m include improving the east end of the high street, which is “cluttered” with cars and making White Hart Street more attractive.

Frogmoor was also highlighted in the report as a “concern”.

Another list of possible improvements include reducing the Abbey Way flyover to a single carriageway and environmental improvements at Archway.

However, Cllr Alan Turner, vice chairman on the planning committee, said councillors were only approving the release of the money for the new role and that the actual improvements would come “much further down the line”.

He said: “A great deal of work has already been done in the town centre, but in some ways, the work over the last 10 years has been laying the foundation of what we need to do next.

“The alternative route around the town centre will be in place next year – it’s therefore time to start reaping the benefits of the reduced traffic. Further investment is needed in the public realm of the town centre, building on the successful scheme of Pauls Row.

“There are a number of projects which could be beneficial, depending on actual cost, once detailed designs have been prepared. The purpose of this post is to commission these further designs. Cabinet will of course approve any projects before they go ahead.

“This is about finding someone with flair to bring these proposals for consideration. We have money in the pot.”

Cllr Matt Knight hailed the progress on the town centre regeneration as “long-needed”, adding: “It seems there has been a lot of tinkering round the edges, a lot of piecemeal improvements and I'm hoping that by bringing in this officer post, it will ensure there is a more comprehensive strategy so we have a proper, well-thought out programme to bring improvements to the town centre.”

All councillors at last week’s cabinet meeting approved the release of the funds for a new member of staff.