MORE than 60 people are opposing plans to convert a couple of redundant barns into luxury holiday lets on a nature reserve near Ross-on-Wye.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust wants to develop the old buildings at Tretawdy Nature Reserve in Llangrove.
The site was bequeathed to to the trust by Eileen Cook and it was gifted to them in March last year.
The gift was conditional to the trust managing the site as a nature reserve, as a whole unit, and must not apply any form of pesticide.
And the trust plans to convert the barns to generate a much needed, sustainable income to invest in conserving the surrounding 27 acres of pasture land and nature enhancement projects.
If it goes ahead, the self-catering accommodation will sleep between six and eight guests and would be mainly aimed at families visiting the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
But the scheme has been met with strong opposition from locals and councillors alike.
Paul Lodge, one of the objectors who lives nearby, said: “Many in the local community are very disappointed that this application has been submitted without their knowledge or involvement.
“We also wish to raise concerns over the will of Mrs Eileen Cook, who left Tretawdy Farm to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, which states that it must be maintained solely as a a nature reserve.
“This we believe is being ignored by the existence of and detail of this application.
“Several residents from Llangrove have written to HWT regarding the improper use of the land regarding Mrs Cook’s intentions for her farm.”
Another objector Christopher Thomas said: “It was left to become a nature reserve and it is now being turned into a holiday let.
“Hen and stag parties will use it.”
Llangarron parish council has also strongly objected to the proposals raising concerns over access, noise, traffic and lack of public consultation.
They are also concerned that the plans would be at odds with with Mrs Cook’s wishes and the general aims of the wildlife trust.
James Hitchcock, wildlife trust estates manager, said the plans are a fantastic opportunity to secure a future for the dilapidated barns.
“We think it is a use that is sustainable and in keeping with the wishes of Eileen Cook,” he said.
“And it can bring a wider demographic into our site and expose them to the work of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and the wonderful countryside that is on offer in the lower Wye valley. And as a local charity and business we would also like to play our part in building back Herefordshire and promoting green tourism.”
The council is expected to consider the plans this month.