Wiltshire Council has approved the dismantling of a curtain wall at Devizes Castle to allow for restoration work on the historic building.

Devizes Castle is a 19th-century, Grade I country house built on the location of a fortification constructed around 1080 by Bishop Osmund of Salisbury, Nephew of William the Conqueror.

The owner, Mr Kazuhiko Akao, applied for permission to dismantle the wall shortly after the council approved “urgent conservation-led repairs” to the castle.

Mr Akao had reported that “inadequate” previous maintenance had left roofs leaking, boundary walls collapsing and parapets wobbling.

Now, with Wiltshire Council’s approval, a section of the wall at the access point from Castle Road can be dismantled to allow construction vehicles access into the castle grounds.

According to the application, the wall has “fragments of stonework originating from the castle and possibly material salvaged from elsewhere, including the mid-19th century refacing of the adjoining church of St John the Baptist.”

It states that the dismantled stonework will be set aside in a secure, weather-proof environment whilst the work is carried out.

It also adds that all works proposed to be carried out will be done so in a “careful and sensitive manner” and will be undertaken by “a specialist tradesman using appropriate methods".

In other planning news, a few miles south, in Market Lavington, a care home has submitted an application for extensive internal work to Wiltshire Council.

The Market Lavington care home is located at 39 High Street and is seeking to convert 12 of its vacant close-care units into staff accommodation.

With the recruitment of staff described as “challenging” and “difficult”, the hope is that offering such accommodation would be an incentive for new employees to take up positions within the home.

The application notes: “Failing to address this matter could further compromise on-going staff recruitment and retention and this could, in turn, increase occupancy rates, result in a deficiency of local care home placements and threaten the viability of the home.”

It adds: “The patterns of comings and goings to the site will also decrease as a result of the proposal.

“At present there is no staff accommodation on site and all staff are therefore reliant upon journeys by private car, particularly for night shifts.

“It is one of the objectives of both national and local planning policy to minimise the number and length of journeys needed for employment purposes.

“The proposal will contribute to that aim, particularly in respect of those staff otherwise likely to live furthest from the care home.”

The council’s decision deadline date is Thursday, July 4.

Meanwhile, further south in the county, Lord and Lady Rothermere have had a planning application approved for their Ferne Estate, between the villages of Berwick St John and Ludwell.

Towards the end of 2023, they requested permission to construct a barn that will house a tennis court, padel court and other recreational facilities.

The site in question is already in use as a tennis court covered with an “inflatable bubble” for weather protection.

The new building will be constructed in the style of “traditional Dutch agricultural barns".

As proprietor of a newspaper and media empire founded by Harold Sidney Harmsworth, the 1st Viscount Rothermere, the owner of the Wiltshire estate is the controlling shareholder of the media conglomerate which includes the Daily Mail.

The full details of the planning application, as well as all other planning application submitted to Wiltshire Council, can be found on the planning and building control public register.