CAMPAIGNERS in Brinkworth have vowed to appeal against a decision to refuse plans to build affordable homes in the village.

Around 15 residents have spent three years battling North Wiltshire District Council for the right to build the houses, which would enable young villagers on to the property ladder. Currently, the cheapest Brinkworth homes are about £150,000.

The planning committee of the district council rejected the plans, much to the dismay of the group, as councillors stuck to the view that the scheme could not be classed as affordable housing. Under planning rules, homes built by locals cannot be classed as affordable, as they can be sold for profit.

The application also included six social housing units as part of the 14 homes the group wanted to build on farmland on the edge of the village.

If given permission, the group say it would have ensured that the homes were owned by local people.

Self-build group member Colin Wadsworth said: "We will definitely be appealing against the decision. I am seeing a planning consultant on Wednesday, and we will be going back to the planning meeting of the committee if that is considered wise.

"It seems to be a conflict between the preservation of the countryside and the needs of the local residents."

District councillor Toby Sturgis, who represents Brinkworth and the Somerfords, said: "I think the group could appeal or come back with another application."

The scheme had the backing of Brinkworth Parish Council. Vice-chairman Peter Seagger said: "I am disappointed about the decision. This decision was a political one."