In a surprise move this week, the city's Civic Society unveiled its own low-rise proposals for the Bricket Road, designed by Cezary Bednarski in the hope of swaying public opinion against Benoy's 12-storey scheme.
Among the fears raised by Civic Society members is that the scheme will ruin the skyline of the historic Hertfordshire town and will overdevelop the site - currently a council-owned car park.
The rival Bednarski design - backed by James Hannaway, owner of the acclaimed Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted - is much smaller in scale and will only have two cinema screens.
At three storeys, it is also hoped the scheme would be 'cheaper and more in keeping with their surroundings.'
The Civic Society's designs will have to defeat the Henry Davidson-backed Benoy plans, which go before the council's planning committee next month.