A Victorian mansion in Gerrards Cross will be transformed into a luxury hotel after plans were given the green light.

The plans for Grade II-listed Bulstrode Manor include plans for 52 guest rooms including a royal suite, a restaurant with room for 120 diners, lobby and lounge spaces, conference and event spaces for up to 200 people, a spa, a kitchen and housekeeping facilities, new guest parking and accommodation for staff.

The separate 1970s accommodation block, garage, cottage and bungalow on site will all be demolished to make way for the development.

It comes after proposals for a luxury hotel on the site were given the go-ahead in 2018 but, according to the design and access statement, the owners put the plans on hold while evaluating the “financial viability” of the project.

The design and access statement adds: “Over the past three years, the international hotel market has changed considerably, with increased competition in this sector and, more recently, the impacts of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry.

“Following a review of the business case and further feasibility studies, a new brief was established for the hotel.

ALSO READ: Plans submitted to convert historic manor house into new hotel

“The requirement is now for a more modest development providing 52 guest rooms, a smaller function suite and a spa.”

The 19th Century manor house was previously home to Christian charity WEC International for more than 50 years and used as a training base for future missionaries – however it was put up for sale in 2016 for £15 million.

The plans say the historic grounds “contain remnants” of four centuries of garden design, including the work of Henry Wise, who said to have helped to lay out the gardens at Kensington Palace, and Humphry Repton, widely regarded as the last great English landscape designer of the 18th Century.

Bucks Free Press: PICTURED: An aerial view of Bulstrode. Picture from design and access statement by Childs Sulzmann ArchitectsPICTURED: An aerial view of Bulstrode. Picture from design and access statement by Childs Sulzmann Architects

The property has a rich and varied history, changing hands multiple times. In 1308, the estate was owned by the Templars and was known as Temple Bulstrode Manor, according to the design and access statement.

After the Templars were supressed by the King in the 1300s, the ownership of Bulstrode moved to the church and Burnham Abbey, and later to Bisham Abbey until 1538 when it was sold to private owners.

The infamous ‘hanging’ Judge Jeffreys, the Lord High Chancellor of England, acquired the property in 1676 and rebuilt the house as an “imposing” red brick building.

Judge Jeffreys died in 1689 while imprisoned in the Tower of London and the Jeffreys family sold the park in 1706 to Dutchman Hans William Bentinck, who was given the title Earl of Portland by William III.

ALSO READ: Listed Victorian mansion owned by Christian charity put up for sale for £15 million

The fourth Duke of Portland inherited the title in 1809 but disposed of Bulstrode in 1811, with the land then passing on to the 11th Duke of Somerset.

After the 12th Duke of Somerset, who inherited the property, died, the house passed to his daughter and then her son.

Due to financial problems in 1932, the estate was sold and then used for RAF and WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) training during World War Two.

The property was bought in 1966 by Christian charity WEC International.

Bucks Free Press: Map by GoogleMap by Google

Once complete, developers say the “magnificent” house will compare to other high-end hotels – including Buckinghamshire’s Cliveden House – where Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, stayed the night before the royal wedding.

They also say they intend to “retain and conserve as much as possible of the historic fabric and remove the “inappropriate and ad-hoc additions associated with previous uses”.

Sadly, while the building stood empty, between autumn 2019 and spring 2020 the interior of the building was “severely vandalised” according to the design and access statement, and the lead was stolen from the roof.

ALSO READ: Inside WWII star Googie Withers' former home - with huge swimming pool and EIGHT ACRES of land

The statement adds: “Almost every window in the building was deliberately smashed and the water damage as a result of the loss of lead roofs, valleys and gutters has been significant.”

As a result, developers say a “significant amount” of repair is needed to bring the property up to the standards required for the proposed hotel.

An online statement by Childs and Sulzmann Architects, on behalf of the developers, said: “The proposed interventions are supported by a business model which will ensure a long term viable and sustainable future for Bulstrode Park.

“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.”

The plans were approved on May 7.