An 18th-century cottage in Great Bedwyn was demolished just a day before the building was given listed status.

It is understood 23 Stokke Common was knocked down on July 7 by owner Charles Bailey of Elcot Lane, Marlborough.

The following day English Heritage gave the building grade II listed status which means it cannot be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from Wiltshire Council.

In May Mr Bailey applied to Wiltshire Council to build a replacement property on the site of the cottage, formerly owned by Cherry Spencer before her death in August 2012, but he was refused because it would have resulted in the loss of a heritage asset.

Two earlier applications to demolish an 18th-century outhouse and 20th-century rear extension and construct a two-storey extension were granted planning permission in 2011 and in May this year.

Great Bedwyn Parish Council objected to the application for the replacement property. Chairman Roger Durie said: “The unfortunate thing is once it’s done you can’t undo it.

“It’s quite remote, it’s about half a mile from the main road, so not many people know about it. But the lady who used to live there was well known in the village so from that point of view I think quite a lot of people will be upset that it has gone.

“It’s got a lot of history through Cherry and also the building itself and to knock it down is quite scandalous.”

English Heritage received an application on June 24 to assess the cottage for listing.

An English Heritage spokesman said: “We were made aware that the windows to the 18th-century cottage were being removed in early July as we were recommending to the Department for Culture Media and Sport to list the building at Grade II.

"DCMS agreed with our advice and the building was listed on July 8 and all parties were notified.

“Unfortunately further clearance work had taken place immediately prior to the listing which resulted in the removal of further historic fabric from the building, including its thatch and roof timbers.

“We are of course disappointed that parts of the building were demolished while it was being considered for listing.”

Mr Bailey’s son said the demolition work had been carried out before the building was given listed status and within planning application guidelines.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “Buildings can only be demolished after prior notification to the council’s planning and building control departments.

“In this case it is the applicant’s opinion that in starting demolition works, they were implementing their existing approval for the construction of substantial extensions to the property.

"As the building has since been listed, we will now look into the options available to us and are likely to ask them to submit a listed building consent application for the reinstatement of the property.”

The Gazette tried to contact Mr Bailey but he has not returned calls.