A HISTORIC Grade II-listed country hotel is to be converted into holiday let apartments.

The original Pengethley Manor, off the A49 near St Owen’s Cross, dates back to at least the late 16th century, but the current building was constructed in the 1820s after a fire destroyed much of the old structure in 1816.

It was rebuilt by then owner Thomas Symonds, and the same family owned the estate until the death of Caroline Symonds – who gifted the gardens bearing her name to Ross-on-Wye – following her death in 1947.

The house was purchased by Gwynne and Blanch Nicholas in 1948 when it was converted into a hotel, and changed hands again in the mid-1980s after which 14 courtyard bedrooms and the vineyard were added.

US family practitioner Dr John Hagmann then bought the hotel in 2007.

The 15-bedroom property is reputedly home to two ghosts – an old lady and a young girl who were trapped in the fire in 1816.

The Georgian country house is set in 15 acres of land, including the vineyard, and has two other buildings in the grounds which currently house further guest bedrooms – the Coach House and the Old Stables, currently also a private home.

Herefordshire Council planners have given the go ahead for the property, incluidng the separate buildings, to be converted to self-contained holiday lets.

The apartments will have between one and four beds each. The private home will be relocated to within the manor itself.

The plan “seeks to diversify the quality and nature of the overnight accommodation on offer by responding to the changing needs of the industry”, according to the application submitted by current co-owner Steve Worrallo.

“The proposed holiday let use would not change or adversely affect natural or historic heritage assets,” it added.

The property has passed through several hands in recent years. Brooks Hotels bought it in 2016 but were unable “to make the hotel a viable business”, the application says.

Since 2020 it has been let out as an international training facility for healthcare professionals.

“The loss of the hotel is regrettable, however there is no policy requirement for its retention,” said council planning officer Heather Carlisle, who could find no reason to refuse the proposal or its accompanying application for listed building consent.