AN EMERGENCY bid has been launched to get an 16th-century village home protected status to stop it being pulled down.

The former owner of Red House in Great Oakley said she is devastated at plans to knock down and rebuild the old coaching inn, which was her family home.

New owners the Great Oakley Community Hub want to transform the house into a cafe and three flats but say it is in such a bad state it’s cheaper to pull it down and rebuild it.

Eleanor Baker, from Manningtree, said her family moved to the house from London in 1987 when she was born.

But after her father died two years ago she, and her brother put it up for sale.

She says it is a decision they now regret.

The mum of three said: “We originally thought one of us would live there but that didn’t happen - there was too much work to do.

“We wanted to sell it to a nice family who could look after it.

“The community hub offered less than the asking price - they have done wonderful things with the pub so we were pleased to do that.

“Then I heard there were going to demolish it and my heart broke a bit.

“We knew there were things wrong with it - before it was sold they had a surveyor come and look around.

“Yes, there is damp and it needs a new roof.

“But I can’t believe it will be more financially viable to pull it down.”

Eleanor, 30, said the house was once the coaching inn attached to the Maybush Inn and later became the village shop before being turned into a house.

She added: “I’ve applied for an emergency listing to have it Grade II listed.

“If we had known about this we would never have sold it.

“I’ve seen the plans and it will be a completely different building, nothing like it is now.”

Villagers have also raised concerns. One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s such a shame for them not to attempt to refurbish it.

“It’s such an old property, it’s part if the village and in the conservation area.

“There have been properties that have been worse than that in the village that have been refurbished.

“It’s split the village, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful village.”

Great Oakley Community Hub committee members held a public meeting on the plans on Monday night.

Mark Godfrey, chairman, said: “It was a rather boisterous discussion with lots of passion.

“Yes, we will have another look at it, we have a number of points people have raised which we will look at.

“I think we can resolve all these issues but I don’t think we can resolve the pulling it down issue.

“It’s not what we wanted to do or what we intended.

“If we don’t get the plans to do this we might as well sell it, in which case we are back to square one and we could end up with anything there.”

Mr Godfrey doesn’t think the current house on the land is 16th century, but says there are two old beams in the kitchen which would be re-used in the new building.

Tendring Council has final say on the plans.