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Town faces new traffic shake-up

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to improve the layout of Marlow town centre is in the spotlight again after original proposals for traffic calming measures were scrapped.

The Argus: Typical Marlow traffic in the middle of the day Typical Marlow traffic in the middle of the day

Councillors met behind closed doors on Tuesday to begin the process of resurrecting the town centre element of the Marlow Parking and Transport Strategy abandoned in July.

But Mike Knight, Wycombe area manager for Buckinghamshire County Council's transport division, said he would not disclose the details of the meeting which was not open to the public.

He said: "It was an unofficial panel of members who got together to give us a starting point. We discussed options for the town centre. We have got to go away and write up a report for the cabinet member.

"I am hopeful we can come up with a scheme that we can take forward to the next stage. It has been quite controversial because the amount of change proposed in the initial plan wasn't considered appropriate for Marlow."

Members of the Marlow Society are hoping the proposal due to go before Rodney Royston, cabinet member for planning and transportation at county council, in October will be very different from the original plan mooted last year.

After a period of public consultation, consultants Halcrow Fox produced a report suggesting additional parking bays in the High Street, seven raised pedestrian crossings, an increase in coach parking space and more short term car parks.

But members of the Marlow Society and the Marlow Town Centre Forum objected ferociously to the plan which they believed would create unnecessary clutter in the High Street and encourage pedestrians to take risks when crossing the road.

Mike Hyde, Marlow Society vice-president, said: "We believe that the town centre would benefit from little change. We like Marlow as it is. The less done the better for all concerned."

John Fontannaz, Marlow Town Centre Forum chairman, added: "We don't want anything done to the High Street at all. There is no real problem with speeding.

County councillor Frank Sweatman (Marlow North) who attended the meeting said the panel considered six different options but the general consensus was to do as little as possible.

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