Internet power couple who sold Bebo website for $850million have been given permission to transform derelict Woolsery manor house.

An internet millionaire’s plans to turn a derelict manor house in the middle of Woolsery into a hotel have been approved by Torridge District Council.

Michael and Xochi Birch, who founded Bebo in 2005 and sold it to AOL in 2008 for $850million, bought the dilapidated Farmers Arms pub and manor house in 2014.

They also bought the village fish and chip shop, which was renovated and reopened in July last year.

The Grade II listed building will be renovated and returned back to its former use as a hotel.

Despite living in San Fransisco, Michael originally comes from Woolsery and has a long family connection with the village.

At the time of the purchase he told the Gazette: “We share the local community’s enthusiasm for the Farmers Arms and Manor House. These buildings are important assets and will be tastefully restored.

“Before we put out the welcome mat we ask everyone for their support, cooperation and patience as we undertake the mammoth task of planning and restoring the buildings to their rightful place of historical significance in the village of Woolsery.”