PAST council regimes “made errors” when developing the district’s towns, says a senior councillor – as the final round of public consultation over ambitious plans to regenerate the district begins.

Wycombe District Council has begun a six-week consultation into its Masterplan for the district – including the multi-million-pound redevelopment of High Wycombe.

The Masterplan – first unveiled in 2003 – also outlines the council’s vision for Princes Risborough, Marlow and its policies including transport and green spaces.

Cllr Hugh McCarthy, cabinet member for planning and sustainability, thinks the Masterplan can right the wrongs made by previous councils – pointing to failed attempts to revamp Frogmoor.

He added the proposals had the 100 per cent backing from incumbent councillors.

He said: “Wycombe District Council had been making errors in the way it was developing its town, it happened without a lot of long term thought.

“We took a fresh look; if we’re going to produce something for the future we need a long term plan. A vision of how it will look in twenty-to-thirty years’ time.

“Frogmoor is an unfortunate lesson to learn, we’re trying to avoid development in isolation without considering how they fit together. All these things [plan] can be done in their own time, in their own way, but they all link in to the greater picture.

“It’s about lifting the gloom, we’re setting ourselves up to spring into action once the recession dies down - and it will go away. It’s a great opportunity to look to the future and plan for it.”

The Masterplan is basically split into two parts – Council policy and regeneration plans for High Wycombe, with additional development in Princes Risborough and Marlow.

See below for a breakdown.

High Wycombe

The “Berlin Wall” dividing High Wycombe would be brought down to merge the historic section of the town with Eden, under the proposals.

The Abbey Way flyover – described by Cllr McCarthy as the ‘Berlin Wall of Wycombe’ - would eventually be demolished, subject to transport conditions and financing. This would take place after 2021 and create space for new development.

The total scheme would cost around £36m in three phases over a period of more than 15 years. This is subject to traffic conditions and availability of funding.

But the council said this would not all be funded by the taxpayer, pointing to earmarked funds, developer contributions and national grant funding.

Phase one would see the creation of a new route for traffic across the town centre, linking Marlow Hill to West Wycombe Road. This would be completed by 2016.

Cllr McCarthy said: “A lot of us aren’t going to see this happen but it is a vision of the future and how members and the public, at large, would like to see the town evolve for the next generation.

“Create a place that is unique – seeing the opportunity, in the long term, to re-open the river to provide a focal point between the financially successful part of the town with the historic part, as we currently have the barrier of the flyover.

“We’re looking to bring the sides together, it’s widely supported and it’s a very striking vision – it’s well worth striving for, a town that people are proud of.

“You often look at old photos and say ‘didn’t the town look good then?’ It would be nice to look at those photos and say, hasn’t the town improved since then.”

Wycombe plans at a glance:

• Phase one of the three stage plan began this year with smaller pieces of the jigsaw being put in place - with the revamp of the Riverside Memorial Gardens, widening of the Lily’s Walk subway and improvements to Paul’s Row and St Mary’s Street.

• The replacement road link would also be put in place, linking Marlow Hill to West Wycombe Road via Queen Alexandra Road and a new link road through the soon-to-be renovated old gasworks in Lily’s Walk.

• Westbourne Street would also be opened up into a new link road, with a new “slow and steady” traffic model - this would all be completed in 2016.

• Phase two then kicks in with the removal of the Oxford Road roundabout – leaving a Royal Albert Hall-sized space for new development.

• It would also be “greened up” and Archway would be ‘de-dualised’ to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

• The flyover would be turned into a single-carriageway, bus-only access road for an interim period to access traffic impact.

• Queen Victoria Road and Easton Street may also become a two-way traffic route. Phase two would be implemented between 2016 and 2021.

• Phase three would then swing in to action in 2021, with the removal of the elevated section of the flyover and the subsequent development of new-found space, merging the historic part of Wycombe with the Eden side.

• This space could be used for anything from expanding Eden to new public green areas or a facility such as a skate-park, council planning officers say.

• The River Wye would be reintroduced to the town centre alongside a make-over of the frontage of the Wycombe Swan, transforming that section into a ‘gateway entrance to the town’.

• This could mean new homes for High Wycombe Fire Station, the Royal British Legion and Liberal clubs - but council planning bosses moved to reassure club members the plan was not dependant on the clubs moving.

• Frogmoor would be regenerated – with moves to turn it into a “vibrant food, drink and leisure court” –as would the Desborough area of the town centre.


THE council is looking at maintaining Marlow as a “quality riverside town”, protecting its environment and boosting retail and parking with additional spaces.

The plan aims to make the most of the town’s Thames-side location, deal with traffic and parking problems, maintain local employment. It also aims to ensure the”limited opportunities” for providing housing in the town meets the needs of the community and help with the creation of a country park in the Little Marlow Gravel Pits area.

Development to shop frontages will be carefully monitored and only allowed if strict criteria were met.

The Portlands site is allocated for residential use (around 70 dwellings, potentially ) - 40 per cent of which would be affordable housing - subject to conditions.

These would include green and heritage conditions, along with transport development, with a new link road between West Street and Pound Lane. This would alleviate High Street congestion and support alternative bus routes and the plan would also include the retention of Portlands Alley.

The Liston Road car park site would be allocated for residential development together with decked car parking - providing the equivalent amount of parking to support Marlow Town Centre.

Princes Risborough

NEW Road and land off Horns Lane in Princes Risborough could be “comprehensively redeveloped” as part of the Masterplan.

New landscaping and fewer vehicular access points in New Road would give the site a “clear function”, with improved pedestrian areas and better crossing points over the A4010 would increase footfall through the area.

While land to the south of Horns Lane has been allocated for a small-scale mix of retail, residential, community and leisure facilities, plus additional car parking.

This redevelopment is estimated to take place sometime between 2016 and 2021.

Additional council policies outlining plans for retail, transport and the environment in Princes Risborough are also outlined in the Masterplan.


THE public consultation kicked off on Friday, with Cllr McCarthy urging residents to “help shape the district of the future”.

Cllr McCarty added: “We need the public to run with us and create this town and district of the future.

“We want the district to continue to be somewhere people are proud to live, work, visit and shop in. So please, take the opportunity to review our plans and tell us what you think - there are plenty of ways to have your say and to get involved."

An exhibition will be on show at Wycombe Library for the duration of the consultation, with council staff on hand on September 10, 22 and 27.

A consultation briefing will be held in the Council Chamber on September 7 from 6pm and from 5.30pm on September 14 – residents interested must book a place.

With a further briefing specifically on plans for High Wycombe scheduled for 6pm on September 15 at The Hub.

Live webchats with council planning experts will be on offer and residents can also call the council on 01494 421158 to discuss the plans.

An online survey is available by clicking on the link below, residents can send letters to the council offices in Queen Victoria Road or email

The Masterplan documents are available by clicking on the link below.

What do you think of the proposals? Leave your comments below.