A FRESH application to demolish a historic hotel – to potentially make way for a housing development – has been entered just days after the previous one was rejected on appeal.

Developer David Cahill has entered a demolition notice for the Alveston House Hotel which, if approved, allows the council to set the conditions of how any future demolition might be carried out.

Councillors and residents have met the latest application with dismay.

Mia Heyward, 51, from Davids Lane, is one of several residents who has objected to the new application.

“This property has already been the subject of a detailed appeal process and the report clearly states this property is of importance to the area,” she said.

Cllr Maggie Tyrrell (Lib Dem, Thornbury South & Alveston) said: “I am appalled by the cynical way that the owners are trying to manipulate the planning system.

“Presumably they think that if they can demolish this landmark building at the entrance to the village, they will have a better chance of gaining the type of planning permission they want. Having just lost their appeal to build a totally inappropriate development, the community had hoped that the owners would do as they said they would and continue to operate as a hotel.

“To be confronted with this new application so soon after these assurances were given is quite devastating to local residents, who are understandably angered by it.”

Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn) said: “Having been refused planning permission for a new building, the owners now simply want to knock it down, without any indication of what might replace it. I believe this is not acceptable.

“Before knocking it down we should at least know what will replace it. It is an interesting landmark building and it has history.

“When I pass it on the A38, I think to myself I must be nearly home.”

In March Mr Cahill’s application to build 34 retirement flats on the sight of the Davids Lane hotel was rejected on appeal.

At the time Cllr Shirley Holloway (Lib Dem, Thornbury South & Alveston) said: “We really don’t want to be faced with another planning application like this last one.”

Despite the new application, Kit Stokes, director for Stokes Morgan Planning, who are acting on behalf of Mr Cahill, said there was ‘no intention’ to demolish the hotel. “The council has said previously that it wanted a structural survey and method statement to ensure that the boundary wall could be safely retained to protect residents. This survey is now included in the application.

“It must be said that there is no intention to demolish the hotel, the owner is committed to running the hotel, but as this is a difficult market sector with strong competition from modern, purpose-built budget hotel chains, there is a requirement for the owners to explore all future options including redevelopment.

“The Appeal Inspector in March stated that he could only give limited weight to the demolition of the building in the absence of the structural survey, hence this has been now submitted to address this particular concern that the planning officer has.

“In the future, further applications will be submitted to address the comments the Inspector made and similar comments submitted to us by residents during the consultation.”