A HISTORIC former hotel could fade to memory after plans were lodged to knock it down for housing.

Owners of Fallowfields country house in Southmoor, near Abingdon, have submitted an application to demolish the building and put 35 homes in its place.

The building in Faringdon Road was a much-loved hotel and award-winning fine-dining restaurant, until it suddenly closed in January 2016.

Anthony Lloyd, who ran Fallowfields for more than 20 years with wife Peta before they retired, said there was no longer a market for the business.

The 73-year-old said: “It’s very niche. We tried very hard to sell the place but only had one, ludicrous, offer in eight years.

“The businesses of accommodation, food and functions have huge pressure. The only way to continue competing at sensible prices was to spend a lot of money making us a boutique hotel, but the money wasn’t there to do that.”

Fallowfields, which boasted 3 AA rosettes before its closure, dates back to Elizabethan times but was constructed in its current form in the 18th century.

It was used as a farm, private house and even a workplace for prisoners of war before being taken over by the Lloyds as a fine-dining hotel.

The pair still live there but eventually want to move closer to family in London.

Last year Mr Lloyd appointed a new manager who relaunched Fallowfields as an events venue for bespoke weddings and parties, but business soon fizzled out.

The couple and developer Terra Strategic are now seeking permission from Vale of White Horse District Council to demolish the building and nearby outbuildings, in place of homes ranging from one-four bedrooms in size.

They had already sold some grounds for housing, particularly a plot at the back, which is set to get 43 homes.

Mr Lloyd said: “I know we are going to get all sorts of hoo-ha about the possibility of building. This was never our intention when we sold off the land - it was to continue running as a business. But the market has changed.”

He said Fallowfields would always hold ‘fantastic memories’, adding: “We brought up four children here. We love this place and bought it with a view to stay. We do rattle around in it a little bit, but it’s a lovely old house.

“We can’t keep ploughing gold dust and dollar after dollar into it. It seems to have come to a natural end.”

Eric Batts, district councillor for Southmoor, said he expected there would be ‘significant resistance’ to the plans.

Brian Forster, chair of Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor Parish Council, was against the demolition and said the village had been ‘inundated with housing’.

The council will meet on Monday at 7pm, at Southmoor Village Hall, to discuss the application.

For more see P17/V2268/FUL on whitehorsedc.gov.uk.