THE owners of a field have been told to remove the fences they put up on its boundary and dig up the hard standing they put on the entrance to a track.

Wiltshire Council issued enforcement notices to two owners of land south of Bridge Paddocks on Blaydon Road. It is close to the village of Leigh, near Minety. The field is bound to the south by the railway line and to the north by the houses and mobile homes at Bridge Paddocks.

Caroline Davies and Michael Powell, who own the land, appealed against the notice.

Ms Davies said she had sold the land, while Mr Powell’s appeal was that Wiltshire Council should grant permission for the fencing he had put up. Both failed.

Mr Powell put up two areas of fencing on either side of an access track leading from Blaydon Road. High, close-boarded fencing runs to the south for well over 100m and there is a shorter section parallel with the railway line.

The government-appointed planning Inspector JP Roberts said Wiltshire Council said it did a search of the Land Registry before issuing the enforcement notice in December 2019, and then another in January this year which showed no transfer of land.

He decided “on the balance of probabilities” the council served the notice to everyone it should have.

Mr Powell’s appeal was in essence that he was allowed to fence his land and the council should give planning permission.

The entrance of the access track has also been surfaced. The inspector’s re[port described the surfacing as using “hardcore and similar material for a short distance from Braydon Road, and a part has what appears to be flytipped rubble on".

Mr Roberts said: “Mr Powell argues that it is right and proper for a landowner to be able to secure his land. I would broadly agree with this proposition.

“The type of enclosure should respond both to context and need. Although the lawful use of the field is that of agriculture, no agricultural use is being made of it and I have not been told of any future agricultural use which is intended, and therefore at present, there can be no need for any enclosure.”

He added: “The high, close-boarded fencing is very domestic in character and wholly out of place in an agricultural context.

"It is seen from Braydon Road and from the public footpath which runs along the southern boundary.”

The inspector said the hard surfacing should also be removed, adding: “The hard-surfacing serves no clear agricultural purpose over and above the unsurfaced field access, and it appears as an unwarranted urbanising feature, out of character with the rural character of the area.

"I find that it causes harm to local character and appearance, albeit that the degree of harm is small.”

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for planning and development management Toby Sturgis said: “The development of the fencing and hardstanding was carried out without the benefit of planning permission and as a result we served an enforcement notice.

"The planning inspectorate agreed with our position and the unauthorised works are now required to be removed.

“We would always advise people to check if they need planning permission by consulting our website.”

Ms Davies and Mr Powell have three months to comply with the order.