AN Alpaca livestock farmer near Melksham has lost his appeal against Wiltshire Council’s refusal to let him diversify his business through tourism.

David Turrell, of Oakley Farm, Lower Woodrow, had wanted to build three two-bedroomed self-catering holiday units with 11 parking spaces to generate another source of income.

One of the units on his Alpaca Stud Farm between Melksham and Lacock would have been specifically designed for people with disabilities.

But the planning inspectorate in Bristol has this week dismissed his appeal and refused his application for costs.

The planning inspector said the proposal would have a “significantly harmful urbanising effect” for anyone walking through the farm on a public right of way and on the character and appearance of the countryside.

He also found that several elements of the proposed scheme would be contrary to development plan policies for the area, saying the tourism accommodation development would be located away from settlements.

Visitors using the proposed tourism accommodation would have to use their own vehicles, as the local public ‘shopper’ bus only served that area on two days a week.

Mr Turrell, a retired head teacher, runs a successful Alpaca Stud farm with his wife Jane. The couple want to diversify their income to offset the impact of Brexit on their livestock business.

Since starting the stud farm just over a year ago, Mr Turrell, 66, has purchased more than 20 Alpacas. He fears that if Britain leaves the European Union it could damage export sales, particularly to the main market in Italy.

He said yesterday: “We are naturally very disappointed. We’ve only just heard so have not yet had time to consider the appeal decision.

“We will have to speak to our planning consultant. We are very concerned about the appeal decision because there is a shortage of tourist accommodation in this part of Wiltshire.”

The couple already have planning permission for a farm shop and 20 parking spaces and say they may consider completing this project.

Mr Turrell believes his proposals would bring “a range of public benefits” to the local rural economy and to tourism across North Wiltshire.

The tourist accommodation could be used by visitors wishing to explore Wiltshire’s tourist attractions, including nearby Lacock Abbey, Avebury, Bath, Longleat and Stonehenge, he says.

Mr Turrell submitted his planning application in March but Wiltshire Council refused permission in June and he appealed in August.

His stud farm is close to the National Cycle Route 403, as well as a number of public rights of way paths which would appeal to hikers and country walkers.