CAMPAIGNERS have slammed plans to build two ‘aspirational dwellings’ on a small parcel of land near Wotton, which contains an ancient well.

Until recently, the land has been used as a large kitchen garden.

Residents say that the plans do not comply with the terms of the local plan, as they are outside the settlement development limit, would be detrimental to the scenic beauty of the landscape in the Cotswold’s AONB, and would have a negative impact on the historic environment.

Paul Thomas, who lives in the hamlet, said: “This is a development which will do nothing to address local housing need, while destroying the green space at the centre of Holywell which has existed, at least, since the end of the 19th century.

“There would no longer be a focal point to the hamlet, it would just be a clump of houses.

“It also looks like the historical well,which gives the hamlet it’s name, will be covered over.”

Now archaeologists are lending their weight to the campaign to save the site.

TV archaeologist Mark Horton, who lives in Wotton, said: “It’s an outrageous application.

“Looking at an early OS map there is also a spring there and it’s highly likely to have been a votive site for a very long time.”

And in a letter to the Stroud District Council planning department, Gloucestershire County Council archaeologist Charles Parry wrote: “The well may be a feature of considerable antiquity with religious associations. If that is the case the well would represent a heritage asset of high significance and interest.

“I recommend that in advance of the determination of this planning application the applicant should provide the results of a programme of archaeological desk-based assessment and field evaluation which should describe the significance of any archaeological remains contained within the application site.”

A spokesperson for Stroud District Council said: “The historic environment above and below ground is a material planning consideration and Stroud District Council will be seeking specialist advice on the matter from Gloucestershire County Council’s Senior Archaeological Officer and in-house Conservation specialists.

“Any impact on the environment and/or landscape will also be a key consideration for officers, and will be fully documented in an officer report.

“With regard to housing need, the starting point will be to look at the principle of development. As the site falls outside of any defined settlement limits, officers will balance any other material planning considerations when formulating a recommendation.”

To comment on the plans visit by February 2.