“Riverside café culture is within our grasp”, the High Wycombe Society has said – as it urges Wycombe District Council to back plans to reopen the River Wye through the town centre.

Plans to reopen the River Wye between Westbourne Street and the Arch Way roundabout - which is tipped to cost around £3 million – are currently being looked at by Wycombe District Council (WDC).

The High Wycombe Society has long campaigned for the return of a "healthy" river to the town centre and one of the aims of the society in 1999 was to "work for the de-culverting and upgrading of our waterways".

In an impassioned social media post, the society said it is “vital” that members of WDC’s cabinet vote in favour of bring the river back up through the town.

They said: “It's a sunny day, you're sitting at a table beside the river and watching the ripples on the water as you sip a coffee. You're in a busy town centre, so there are cars and people around you, but that's how it is in other places like Marlow, Amersham and Windsor.

“You can still enjoy the moment before setting off on your way to do your shopping, visit the library, or head home. This can become a reality, right here in High Wycombe.

“That riverside cafe culture is within our grasp - if Wycombe District Council Cabinet members vote for it in the next few weeks.

“De-culverting and re-landscaping the River Wye is something the High Wycombe Society has wanted for a very long time.”

Their comments come amid complaints from Wycombe Labour leader Cllr Rafiq Raja that cabinet has been “less than enthusiastic” about bringing the plans forward.

He said a “lack of a clear outline” about when the work could start is “disappointing”, adding: “It is better for WDC reserves to be used to uplift the town than be thrown into the black hole which exists at the county council at the moment and thereby ensuring a reasonable legacy for our future generations”.

Cllr Katrina Wood hit back at the claims the cabinet has been unenthusiastic at the last full council meeting on February 21, saying: “You are well aware that you haven’t even given cabinet a chance to respond to these recommendations.

“I'm not sure where you got the opinion that cabinet is less than enthusiastic, when we haven’t even had a chance to provide a response to the plans. Surely it is only courteous to allow cabinet a full response before jumping in with allegations like this.

“It would be wrong to rush into this without looking at the issues properly.”

Cllr Raja responded: “I was at the last cabinet meeting and what we were being told was there was no guarantee this project would go on. I'm enthusiastic about this and we need to be more positive. I hope you agree with me that we would rather use this money in Wycombe than to help your friend Martin Tett.”