Raymond Blanc criticised for destroying wildflower meadow at Oxfordshire restaurant

Raymond Blanc has neighbours of his Oxfordshire hotel by destroying wildflowers. (Getty Images)
Raymond Blanc has upset neighbours of his Oxfordshire hotel by destroying wildflowers. (Getty Images)

Raymond Blanc has been accused of "ecological vandalism" after cutting down a wildflower meadow near his Oxfordshire restaurant.

The 72-year-old French chef and star of ITV show Simply Raymond has upset local restaurants in Great Milton, where he owns Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, by choosing to raze the field during 'no mow May'.

A spokesman for the restaurant told The Daily Telegraph: “We hear the concerns from a few local residents regarding the mowing of the field.

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"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.”

The hotel and restaurant has applied for planning permission to build a new wellness spa, bistro and Raymond Blanc academy on its land.

Raymond Blanc talking at the Wellness Kitchen on Day one of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 26, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.  (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Raymond Blanc has applied for planning permission to build a spa at his Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. (Getty Images)

But local residents have voiced their concerns to South Oxfordshire District Council about the attitude of the firm Belmond — which owns the hotel — to the local wildlife.

David Treanor, 68, commented: "Considering 'no mow May' is going on right now, everyone in the village is very disappointed and it just seems pointless destruction.

He added: "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.

"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 states landowners must control ragwort in areas where it might spread to fields used to graze animals.

Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons luxury hotel founded by Raymond Blanc at Great Milton in Oxfordshire, UK  (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons luxury hotel founded by Raymond Blanc is a Grade II listed building in a conservation area. (Getty Images)

Historic England have also objected to Le Manoir's proposed expansion of the hotel, saying it would "harm both the significance of the Manor House as a Grade II listed building, and the conservation area in which it is located.

Celebrity chef Blanc owns several restaurants in London as well as 10 branches of his Brasserie Blanc around England.

Blanc moved to England in the 1970s and has become an established restaurateur in the country, as well as a well known face on television.

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He currently holds two Michelin stars.

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