A PICTURESQUE 17th century cottage at the heart of a tiny Cotswold village could be ripped down and replaced with a new building.

But the plans for Michaelmas House, in Lower Lemington, near Moreton, have been slammed by its shocked former owner, who has labelled them nothing more than “insensitive vandalism”.

Charles Pearmain, who lived in Michaelmas House for 27 years and raised two sons there, was shocked to hear new owner Betsy Hall intends to pull the thatched cottage down and build a replacement building and garage.

Cotswold District Council is considering the proposals to replace the cottage, which is next to a Norman church, and just one of six houses in the village.

Mr Pearmain, who now lives in Great Wolford, near Shipston, said had he known the cottage could be torn down, he would have reconsidered selling it.

“It’s a really old house, it’s such a shame,” said the 57-year-old. “I’ve got no axe to grind but I lived there for such a long time and I’m just really sad to see it being ripped down and have a modern place put there.

“It needs some work done but it’s not a basket case. Had I had any information that they just wanted to buy a cheap building site, which is effectively what they’ve done, I wouldn’t have considered selling it to them.”

Mr Pearmain said the cottage and its interior had featured in many magazines including a Japanese publication.

“The house has had some extensions added to it in the past which don’t enhance it,” he said. “But the proposal to destroy a property that has been at the heart of this tiny village for several hundred years and replace it with a modern pastiche of a Cotswold cottage is nothing but insensitive cultural vandalism.”

Planning agent Steven Chance was not available to comment on the proposal when contacted by the Journal.

But a design and access statement written in support of the application says the existing cottage is of “poor architectural character” due to previous extensions and has a “poor roof structure”

that needs completely replacing.

“In evaluating the merits of retaining the existing dwelling and carrying out refurbishment work and extensions, it was concluded that it would be more cost effective, practical and environmentally beneficial and energy efficient to replace the existing dwelling,” it says.