MORE THAN 4,000 people have signed a petition demanding the council rules out turning a Victorian mansion into flats, despite the authority insisting such proposals are not on the table.

Last week it was revealed Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) was looking at options for Easthampstead Park Conference Centre, a property it owns and spends £250,000 on each year.

Councillor Peter Heydon, executive member for transformation and finance, said no decision about the house’s future had been made and that there was “no appetite to see it converted into homes.”

But Bracknell residents with a connection to the house are not convinced, with 4,076 signing a petition which calls for BFC to guarantee the stately home will be protected.

Resident Karen Fleck wrote: “Please keep it for the community to continue to use. There is so much building going on around here that we already can’t move for traffic jams on the road.

“Leave Easthampstead Park house and grounds alone.”

Others have pointed out the area was included in the council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, which determines how many houses could be built in certain place.

The report, which highlights sites the council may have no plans for developing, found Easthampstead Park capable of holding 114 properties.

Caroline O’Grady said: “I think it’s beautiful and we need to preserve our heritage. Let’s balance out the need for housing with the need to protect our historic buildings for future generations.”

Cllr Heydon insisted the sale of the house was by no means a foregone conclusion.

He said: “Options for the site need to benefit the council, our residents and Easthampstead Park Conference Centre.

“While it is premature to talk about any possible sale, the council is clear that as a listed building surrounded by ancient woodland there is absolutely no appetite to see it converted into homes.

“Likewise, the council would only ever consider options that see the site as a ‘going concern’ - ensuring all current wedding and conference bookings are honoured to the same standard offered at the moment.”