AN ICONIC hotel in Alveston could be demolished to make way for retirement homes, according to a newly submitted planning application.

Plans put forward by developer David Cahill for the Alveston House Hotel, which employs more than 20 full and part-time staff, would see it replaced with 39 homes for over 55s and communal areas.

Mr Cahill’s agent Kevin Morley from Stokes Morgan Planning said that the application is based on market research, which shows an increasing interest and demand for independent living for older people, who want to remain in or near their community.

While prospective plans have been submitted, the developer is yet to purchase the property, which remains on the market for £2.15million.

Originally built as a private family home in 1797, the hotel has been run by current owner Julie Camm for the past 20 years, following a management buyout in 1998.

But due to the taxing 24/7 nature of the business, Mrs Camm, 57, says she is planning to sell up and retire.

“It has been an amazing business to work for and run, and to this day remains a fantastic experience,” she said, “but people don’t realise how tough it is and I am really wanting to retire as soon as possible.

“The staff all know my intention to sell and have been very supportive, they think it is sad but appreciate my position.”

During Monday’s meeting of Alveston Parish Council, some residents living nearby expressed their concerns over the size of the development, the loss of employment in the village, and that they had  not been consulted over the plans, and had only been informed of the plans through word of mouth.

Paddock Gardens resident Elliot Gould said: “I understand development is necessary, but this development is drastically oversized, and by not being part of the process, we feel we have been kept in the dark.

“Redevelop the land by all means, but have respect for the people close to it.”

In a statement submitted by Cllr James Sumner, who was not present, he said he “completely objects” to the redevelopment, adding that he had concerns over parking, with the proposed number of spaces for residents being “woefully below” what it should be.