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A hotel run by Raymond Blanc has been accused of "ecological vandalism" after razing a wildflower meadow.
The hotel and restaurant, founded in 1984, has two Michelin stars and is run by the 72-year-old French chef. It has applied for planning permission to build a new wellness spa, bistro and Raymond Blanc academy on its land.
It says that the mowing was part of its obligation to control the spread of ragwort, a weed that can be dangerous to horses and dogs.
But commenting on the planning application, villagers criticised the firm Belmond - which owns the hotel - for carrying out the work.
"The loss of wildflower meadow is an environmental blow and gives an insight into Belmond's attitude to the environment and sustainability," one comment said.
David Treanor, 68, a local resident, said: "Considering 'no mow May' is going on right now, everyone in the village is very disappointed and it just seems pointless destruction - it's practically vandalism.”
Mr Treanor also said it was a “question of timing”, arguing that mowing the field in March does not cause the ecological damage that cutting it in the middle of May does.
"Everything that was growing and blooming there, all the insects and butterflies and everything, they've all been destroyed now or deprived of their home,” he said.
"They're not cultivating it or growing anything on it, they've just mown it down to the ground. It's terrible, it's just ecological vandalism."
The Weeds Act 1959 says landowners must control ragwort in areas where it might spread to fields used for grazing or growing forage crops.
A spokesman for the restaurant said: “We hear the concerns from a few local residents regarding the mowing of the field.
"However, the field has been mowed, as on previous occasions, to control the spread of ragwort, which we are legally obliged to do to prevent the spread of this poisonous weed, which can be dangerous to animals.”