Contentious plans for new windows on a Marlow shop front have been met with fury from residents who say the new designs will make the town “indistinguishable” from others and “remove some of the charm” of the High Street.

Sorbon Estates initially submitted plans for listed building consent last November to change the ground floor windows of the Grade-II listed building that previously housed Winser London and Huttons of Marlow in the High Street, and add a fascia board and a replacement door.

But dozens of residents objected to the plans, with Audrie Moorhouse writing: “The two beautiful shop fronts are part of Marlow’s high street history and must not be changed. Changing the look would wipe out years of history that can never be put back.

“What's the point of making a building listed if its key features can be changed and spoilt?”

And Gianna Plumridge said: “Marlow High Street is quintessential, and the current look supports that. Let’s not modernise and make it contemporary as this phase will pass.

“The whole front is so much more attractive, appealing and warm. Keep Marlow as a cute town not an indistinguishable place. Keep its origins and make it somewhere people come because of its character.”

There was also some confusion among residents as a second application for the installation of a new shop front for the building was submitted to Wycombe District Council (WDC) in February this year.

There was also anger as the original listed building application was approved by WDC. Explaining the situation and the difference between the two applications, council spokesman Shauna Hitchens said Sorbon Estates needs listed building consent – which it now has – and planning permission – for which the public consultation period ends on March 27 – for the changes to go ahead.

She said: “The application for listed building consent…was received prior to a planning application for the same development being made under reference 19/05415/FUL.

“Indeed, the applicant made the second application because the council advised them that they required planning permission as well as listed building consent.

“The consultation period for [the listed building application] had expired and hence the decision was issued, for approval.

“However, the consultation period for 19/05415/FUL does not expire until March 27 and as such, the decision on this cannot be made yet.

“The former relates only to the impact of the development on the listed building, whilst the latter relates to wider planning issues.

“As such, the development cannot proceed until and unless both listed building consent and planning permission are granted.”

Objecting to the new planning application, Ashley Buttle wrote: “The windows of this shop front are a feature of the High Street, similar in style to buildings on the other side of the road.

“Altering their appearance for a modern retail look would harm the aesthetics and remove some of the charm of Marlow High Street.”

Marlow Town Council also objected to the plans, saying the changes were “not in keeping” with some other shops on the High Street, and that the current windows were a “part of the iconic street scene”.

Writing in the heritage statement, Heritage Collective said on behalf of Sorbon Estates that the upper arched portions of the windows would be retained but the lower portions would be replaced “to provide a more traditional shopfront arrangement”.

They wrote: “The proposals are based on a thorough understanding of the historic development, character and significance of the grade II listed building and conservation area and seek to provide preserve the significance and unique heritage values of the assets.

“The existing windows are in a poor state of repair and require refurbishment/upgrade.

“While resulting in a change from the existing arrangement, the proposals ensure the shopfront windows retain an equally traditional character which complements the historic frontage of the building and the wider area.

“The building’s original ground floor windows (a continuation of the first floor canted windows) were removed at least 50 years ago and were replaced with a very different arrangement so that they were more suited to the ground floor’s retail use.

“Following on from this, the proposals again seek to replace the current (20th Century) windows with something more suited to the ground floor’s retail use and current retail practices.

“This continues the existing pattern of the building’s evolution.”

A decision is expected to be made by April 15.