Historic Victorian mansion set to be transformed into luxury hotel
South Bucks District Council’s planning committee backed plans to develop the Grade II listed Bulstrode House in Oxford Road following a short debate on July 18.
The separate 1970s accommodation block – branded “ugly” by councillor Duncan Smith - garage, cottage and bungalow on the site will all be demolished to make way for the development.
A spa, conference room, staff accommodation, bars, guest lounges, cafe and a 120-space guest car park will all be built on the site as well as 60 new bedrooms.
The 19th century manor house was previously home to Christian charity WEC International for more than 50 years and was used as a training base for future missionaries, but it was put up for sale in 2016.
Once complete, developers Bulstrode Park Ltd say the historic house will compare to other high-end hotels including Buckinghamshire’s Cliveden House, where Meghan Markle stayed the night before the recent royal wedding.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Smith said the current staff accommodation on the site is “ugly” and asked if the new development would be more in keeping with the estate. Cllr Marlene Lewis raised concerns over the future of the trees that surround the mansion, while cllr Jilly Jordan questioned if the planned car park will impose on the Green Belt.
The case officer confirmed the trees will be protected and the accommodation will be de- veloped to make it “more sympathetic” to the rest of the estate.
She added while the car park will fall within the green belt, it will not “erode the openness” of the protected land.
She said: “It is part of the green belt. In terms of the conditions of car parking there’s no objection in principle to a hard surface area, provided it doesn’t impact on the openness of the green belt.
“In terms of the built area of the site, we are satisfied that it is quite contained in the green belt and it doesn’t result in any eroding of the openness of the green belt.”
One letter of objection was sent to the council criticising the design of the staff accommodation, saying “it is not in keeping with the area”, adding any development on protected land should be avoided. An online statement by Childs and Sulzmann Architects on behalf of the developers said: “The detrimental impacts are few and the improvements to the set- ting of the listed building are significant. The derelict areas of the site will be improved and brought back into use and the impact of traffic on the site will be reduced.
“These proposals for developments at Bulstrode represent a clear and viable proposition to ensure that the use of this property as a luxury hotel can provide a long term and sustainable future for this valuable heritage asset.”
Councillors approved the plans.