Plans to turn a historic pub into a place of worship have caused a divide in the community.

As previously reported, the Jolly Woodman near Burnham Beeches, closed its doors as a public house in January after a slump in trade.

Hindu group GB Shri Raghavendra Swami Brundavan has since taken over the site, with the charity raising £700,000 to acquire the property.

Having been situated in a rented space in White Hart Road in Slough since 2017, the trustees hoped to secure a permanent place for worship and community events.

Plans went in on January 31 to make alterations to the inside of the Jolly Woodman site, as well as proposals to build a meditation room and add additional parking spaces to the rear of the property.

Since the plans were made public, 204 objections have been received and 111 letters of support.

Now Buckinghamshire Council's property and asset management team have released their planning consultation response.

Written by David Stowe, the document begins: "Thank you for consulting the Property and Asset Management Team.

"The adjoining common land, including the informal gravelled parking area and access routes is owned by Buckinghamshire Council and overseen by its Property and Asset Management Team."

As a result, the asset manager said the application "cannot rely on this parking area to provide for the vehicles that their application may generate".

They added the parking area is for visitors to the area, including walkers, attendees of St Annes Church and parents taking their children to and from Dropmore Infant School.

In the Hindu group's application, they stated the car park could accommodate 30 vehicles, which Buckinghamshire Council have said is "very concerning".

"To achieve this would require very tight parking of vehicles which is impractical and would inevitably result in the full or partial blocking of the access route and bridleways across the area," the report stated.

"The access route over the parking area not only provides passage to an adjacent private house but also facilitates three public bridleways." Within the application, no mention is made to maintaining the access routes.

"Around 15 vehicles is a more realistic number."

Issues have also been raised with the operating hours, proposed to be 7/8am to 10pm, seven days a week, "considerably more hours than when it was a pub".

"The pub’s opening hours, and therefore its attendee's use of the parking area, tended to conveniently fit into times that generally avoided the parking use by others," the report clarified.

The property and asset management team said that the proposed operating times would result in "frequent parking congestion".

The plans for extension suggest the premises could accommodate around 134 people, with the applicant stating the location is "well served" by public transport. 

However, Buckinghamshire Council is aware that there are no direct public transport links.

The council have also criticised the applicant's lack of acknowledgement of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) adjoining the property.

"For the above reasons it is considered that the current application will be of significant detriment to the adjacent common and designated SSSI land which the Council has a duty as landowner to protect and should not be approved," the report concluded.

"The potential sizable increase in vehicles attending and attempting to park on the Councils informal parking area, neighbouring common land verges and roads will cause damage, obstruction and disturbance to the natural environment and landscape as well as local residents.

"The application contains some inaccuracies and general assumptions without any real attempt to offer suggestions which might go to mitigate the impact.

"This conveys a lack of understanding as to the importance of the adjoining common land and the potential impact of the application on it."