Plans to build flats behind the site that was widely tipped to be a new Marks and Spencer store in Marlow have been given the green light – despite concerns about parking.

The supermarket was rumoured to fill the large retail space at the Windsor House development, on the corner of Spittal Street and Dean Street.

But developers Shanly Homes – part of Sorbon Estates – submitted plans to change the use of the rear of the development, which was originally thought to be a warehouse space, from shop use to residential last year.

There will be five flats – three one-bedroom and two two-bedroom – with 25 basement parking spaces accessed via a car lift serving the whole development, which has a further 11 flats already.

Councillors at Wycombe District Council’s planning committee meeting this week praised the design of the building, with some saying the development would be an “asset” to the town.

Cllr Neil Marshall, who is also a Marlow town councillor, said: “We have had concerns over this development for a period of time with this change of use.

“However there have been some changes made along the way – originally it was proposed to have parking in the courtyard which we objected to as it then took up the turning space for what would be the servicing of the shops. 

“The parking now appears to meet the parking standards for the town centre. 

“The quality of the build is excellent and having actually been in the car park, we can see that it is capable of taking the numbers that have been out forward for it.”

Cllr Tony Lee echoed Cllr Marshall’s comments, saying the quality of the building was “excellent” and that it appeared to be of a “much higher standard” than committee members are used to seeing.

He added: “The parking appears to be adequate. I couldn’t think of anything to stop me giving permission for this.”

Cllr Chris Whitehead praised the developers for including four parking spaces dedicated to electric vehicles in the basement.

The councillors’ comments came after a number of objections were raised in relation to the parking spaces, with Marlow Town Council writing: “We find it barely credible that the allocated basement parking will be able to service the additional residential apartments.”

And resident David Putnam said: “Comment that there is spare capacity in surrounding public car parks is unfounded.

“Recent reviews and surveys found there to be little or no spare capacity on most days of the week. Recent applications have been refused where displaced parking is an issue.

“The town has severe parking problems which has been well documented.”

Cllr Alex Collingwood, a Wycombe district and Bucks county councillor for Marlow, wrote: “I support Mr Putnam’s comments and conclusions that there is insufficient parking provision for the additional flats.

“In addition, we have had the recent case of 7 High Street application...was refused on loss of commercial parking and inadequate parking for the new residential.”

The plans were unanimously approved.