Concerned Amersham residents have urged the council to “scale back” their plans for a new leisure centre in the town – which they say is “too big, too costly and is in the wrong place”.

Last month Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) planning committee delayed proposals to build the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre in King George V Road amid concerns over parking and the “carbuncle” design of the development.

The plans would see the buildings at the Chiltern Pools site– including Amersham Library, Chiltern Youth Centre and Drake Hall – demolished and replaced with the new leisure centre, as well as a community hall, nursery and library.

If proposals are eventually given the green light – it would mean a section of the King George V playing field is lost to make way for the development, which has been widely criticised by residents.

Now, Amersham residents have urged the council to design an “overall smaller scheme” on the same site as the existing buildings, so the playing fields remain intact.

Patrick Carroll, who lives on Chiltern Avenue, said a smaller development “would be more in keeping with this small Chilterns town” and would provide the opportunity to build a “more eco-friendly building”.

He said: “Primarily, the current design presented to planning is too big, too costly and in the wrong place.

“So, the principle improvement should be for the whole scheme to be scaled back to just replace the existing facilities, without trying to create a hub leisure centre for the whole county.

“This would instantly solve most of the problems, as a smaller development could be designed to fit the available space, cost a lot less and leave sufficient area for adequate car and coach parking, which the current scheme can’t possibly do.

“At the same time, better space could be provided for community services, which under the current scheme seem to have shrunk.”

He added that a smaller project would mean the outdoor play park and exercise hub on the site would “remain in an open area” rather than “being squeezed behind the towering walls of the new centre”.

A spokesman for CDC said there has been “overwhelming support” for the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre plans, and feedback from residents has been “incorporated into the design” where possible.

Spokesman, Rachel Prance, said: “If the scheme goes ahead the new centre, as well as being a significant employer, will provide a destination for older and younger people to visit, learn new skills and pass knowledge on to others.

“We have been open from the beginning of the project about how it will be funded and have published the draft business plan which requires the capital investment to be paid back by the income generated from the new centre as well as seeking to attract external funding towards the project from a range of agencies including Sport England.

“We acknowledge the proposal will include the loss of some green space, but we, Amersham Town Council and Fields in Trust are supportive of this, and consider that investing in a new leisure and community centre will enable residents to benefit from the opportunities that may be provided and support an active and healthy lifestyle.”