PLANS to build three homes on farmland near one of Devizes most iconic landmarks have been thrown out by a Government inspector.

Farmer Jim Butler had his scheme for three houses at Roundway Farm close to Roundway Hill turned down by Wiltshire Council and now its decision has been upheld on appeal.

In his report the inspector said: "The proposed dwellings by virtue of their domestic nature and grouping would be out of character with this setting. They would also harm the appearance of the immediate area through the introduction into this rural setting of paved

areas and domestic paraphernalia."

He decided that although the houses would be smaller than existing farm building they would still be harmful to the area. He went on to say that he thought the area was not sustainable for housing. He said: "Three new homes would be built to add to the housing supply and in doing so work would be created. To my mind however, these latter factors do not outweigh the harm that has been identified."

Roundway Hill is best known for the Battle of Roundway Down fought on July 13, 1643, during the First English Civil War. A Royalist cavalry force under Lord Wilmot won a crushing victory over the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller who were besieging Devizes in central Wiltshire.

Roundway Down and nearby Oliver's Castle are part of the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are popular with walkers and cyclists.

But Mr Butler argued that the steel framed barn that the houses would replace was twice as large as the area the three homes would take up would have permitted development rights but the inspector said this was not the case.

He said: "My attention has be drawn to a High Court Decision1 where the Judge agreed with the inspector that the works needed for the conversion of a steel framed barn to a dwelling went a very long way from what might be reasonably construed as a conversion. I see great similarities between that case and the one now before me."