The team behind Daylesford Organic is seeking planning permission to redevelop the former Mill House Hotel in Kingham into a new 33 bedroom hotel with a restaurant, spa, gym, swimming pool, alehouse and bakehouse.

The Mill Lodge, which forms part of the site is currently being lived in a by a member of staff acting as caretaker, and is also part of the application and surrounding land including a field to the east.

A free electric shuttle bus service is proposed to operate between Kingham railway station, The Mill, The Wild Rabbit pub and Daylesford Organic Farm.

Fifteen letters have been received objecting to the “inappropriate size and scale” of the development and stating that the bus service would be of “limited use”.

Villagers also say the new hotel is likely to add to the amount of housing stock used to house staff and this plus the large number of second homes in the village would reduce the local resident numbers “damaging further what was once a lively and thriving village community”.

Oxford Mail: Daylesford Organics, near Kingham. Picture Antony Moore

Daylesford Organics near Kingham. Picture Antony Moore

However, there have been nine letters of support that say the existing property at The Mill is derelict and “an eyesore” and “Kingham is indeed lucky to continually enjoy the interest of the Bamford family who bring valuable and sensitive development to this part of the world and generate much-needed sustainable employment and high-value tourism.”

They add that the site is easily accessed and outside the centre of the village and close to the station and should have a low level of impact on traffic and the development will become “a destination that will attract the support and customers looking for a high-quality experience that does not currently exist on a viable scale in Kingham and surrounds”.

Overall, Kingham Parish Council welcomed the proposal and said the redevelopment as a hotel is appropriate and there are many features to commend it.

They said other developments locally by Daylesford have been tasteful and ecologically sound, and their approach to this one is similar.

They raised some concerns over scale, seemingly inadequate parking for staff plus guests and traffic issues on Station Road.

They also sought clarity over which parts of the hotel would be open to non-residents and suggested the bakehouse, ale house and restaurant should be and consideration should be given to opening the spa and pool on a membership basis.

At a meeting of West Oxfordshire District Council’s Uplands Area Planning sub-committee council planning officer Joan Desmond recommended refusal.

In her report she accepted there were likely to be benefits to the local economy from the construction and operation of the hotel and its facilities but that the development comprises major development within the Cotswolds AONB and “an exceptional circumstances case has not been made to justify this development which would have a significant adverse impact on the area's natural beauty and landscape including its heritage.”

She added the development would also be of a disproportionate and inappropriate scale and would not form a logical complement to the existing scale and pattern of development or the character of the area.

The item was deferred for a site visit on Thursday 24 June.

A spokesperson for the applicant said: “After two years of work and collaboration with the planning authorities to secure support for a hotel on an existing hotel site, the team are looking forward to hearing a planning conclusion at the end of June.”