VILLAGERS living in a tranquil hamlet near Winchcombe are fighting plans to convert a large country house into a boutique hotel.

Pickering Real Estate Ltd has submitted plans to Tewkesbury Borough Council for the change of use of Whitfield House, in Wood Stanway, into a 10-bedroom hotel and restaurant along with extensions and alterations.

Parts of the Grade II-listed building, which was used as a vicarage until 1934, dates back to the early 18th century and is set in just under five acres of grounds.

In the design and access statement, Nigel Power who will have the responsibility of running the hotel if permission is approved, described it as "a home away from home" and "a discreet and low key destination."

But residents fear if permission is granted, "excessive noise", bright lights and an increase in traffic from visitors and service vehicles will ruin the unspoilt and tranquil Cotswold hamlet.

A group of residents staged a silent protest in the village on Friday (August 1) while the planning committee passed through in its coach for a site visit ahead of the meeting on August 19.

Charles Trevelyan, who lived in the house with his parents until 1959 and now lives in the gardeners cottage, said the majority of residents were opposing the plans.

"Wood Stanway is a haven of peace and tranquility," said the 68-year-old. "There will be excessive noise, lights and the increase in traffic up the single road leading in and out of the village will be considerable.

"There is no way it would be able to take two cars passing either side. There's not a through road, there's no shop, or church or pub. It's a route through the Cotswold Way but it's a totally quiet, unspoilt unmodernised Cotswold hamlet at the bottom of the escarpment."

His wife Angela added: "It seems we've got the cards stacked against us. We're not being listened to."

A spokesman from Pickering Real Estate Ltd said: “The scheme involves the careful and appropriate conversion of Whitfield House to a modest, high quality private hotel.

"The conversion has been designed by specialist conservation architects who have devised a scheme which respects the character of the building.

"The facilities would not only have benefits to the local economy but would provide a type of accommodation lacking in the area.

"There is also the potential to ensure that the use of the hotel does not cause any undue impact on the area or local residents. We therefore hope that permission is granted to support the local economy.”