The burned-out shell of what was originally a vicarage – and then the reception and main entrance building of a hotel – in South Marston will be rebuilt.

The building, gutted by a fire which swept through it in 2017, has stood semi-destroyed on the site at the southern end of the village, opposite the junction of Old Vicarage Lane and Nightingale Lane months.

Now planners at Swindon Borough Council have given Bellway Homes permission to restore the building as a family home.

The company, based in Newcastle, is about to start a development of 70 two, three and four-bedroom houses on the cleared grounds of the rest of the hotel, which shut with the loss of about 45 jobs in 2016.

And although the company’s plans show the new building will be similar in appearance to the old vicarage, some in the village will mourn the old building when it is knocked down.

Patricia Mapson, 78, lives almost opposite the site in Church Ground, and has lived in the village for decades.

She said: “I will be very sad to see that building go. When I was young it was actually the vicarage and the vicar and his family lived there in the 1950s.

“The later is became the social and leisure centre and it was very well used. We all used to go there, they had exercise classes and a swimming pool.”

Walking her five-year-old Cockapoo Lily near the shell of the building, Mrs Mapson added: “I don’t think building it as a house was what most of the village wanted – but it looks so derelict there now and it’s looked like that for a long time, so I suppose something had to happen.

“It was such a beautiful building, It had a lot of good memories. I think a lot of people in the village will be very sorry when it’s knocked down.”

The plans put forward by the developers show the new building slightly closer to the road than the former vicarage.

The company said: “This will help the new building to act as a landmark. In order to help create the status of a‘gateway’ building the front garden will be defined by a new rubble stone wall and the driveway will be marked by stone gateposts. The design utilises materials and architectural features found in the former vicarage, including a stone-faced projecting gable entrance, a recessed entrance door, stone chimneys, and hipped roofs and stone surrounds to the windows and doors.”