The former home of famous writer and philosopher G K Chesterton could be bulldozed and replaced with flats – in a move branded “shameful” by angry Beaconsfield residents.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, best known for the Father Brown detective novels, moved to Beaconsfield with his wife Frances in 1909 and lived in Grove Road until his death in 1937 – first at Over Roads and then across the road at Top Meadow.

Now, Over Roads, to which fans of the prolific writer flock every year, could be knocked down and replaced with nine apartments.

Plans put forward by Octagon Developments have provoked outrage from residents – and even G K Chesterton fans from abroad.

Objecting to the plans, Dr Dale Ahlquist, president of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton – an international organisation based in America – said: “I am struck by the fact that Chesterton the writer – and prophet – is so well known and appreciated around the world but is sadly overlooked and neglected in England.

“I have had the privilege of visiting Over Roads and I was impressed by how well cared for the property was. It has been wonderfully preserved. It seems rather insane that it should be destroyed.

“To an American, it would be the equivalent of demolishing a home where Ernest Hemingway lived.”

Dr Ahlquist added that with an “international devotion” to Chesterton as a potential Catholic saint, there have been an “increasing number of pilgrims” visiting Beaconsfield, where he lived and is buried.

He said: “To deliberately destroy a building that was once the residence of someone whom may one day be declared to be a saint would be insensitive to say the least, but cruel and callous to say the worst.”

Former deputy leader of South Bucks District Council Chris Whitehouse has also registered his “profound concern” about the plans.

He said: “That building is the former home of G K Chesterton, one of the more influential thinkers and authors our country has produced.

“His reach goes way beyond our shores and it would be an act of cultural vandalism not to protect this house for the nation as we have done so many other authors’ homes.”

Parish priest at St Teresa’s Church, Monsignor Sean Healy, added that they have many parishioners who are “keen Chesterton supporters”, adding: “The parish often receives overseas visitors who spend a day making their way around the town visiting various Chesterton landmarks.

“It would be a shame if, over time, these significant places were slowly eradicated.”

Octagon Developments – who have been approached for comment by the Bucks Free Press – say in planning documents that the building, which will be four storeys in some places, will be “sympathetic” to the character of the area.

They said: “The proposed development has been carefully designed to integrate with the styling of Grade II listed Top Meadow.”