AN appeal against a decision to refuse permission for a controversial gypsy camp in a village near Devizes has been upheld by an inspector six years after the planning battle started.

Douglas Ward had appealed against an enforcement notice issued by Wiltshire Council in April last year after he put up a timber building on land at New Road after planning permission was turned down. He will now have to dismantle the wooden structure.

He also appealed against the council’s original decision in 2018 not to allow change of use of agricultural land to create one gypsy and traveller pitch, with one static mobile home and one touring caravan, a stable block with tack room and feed store.

The plan also asked for alterations to the site entrance and two metre high security fence.

This scheme had replaced a similar one put forward by Mr Ward in 2014 which was also turned down by Wiltshire Council.

Inspector Tim Belcher decided that the plan, which had brought considerable opposition from people living in the village, should be dismissed.

Several public meetings were held, hundreds of letters of objection written and the parish council wrote a forceful response saying the site did not have safe access, and would not blend in with its surroundings.

At the appeal Mr Ward had argued that more traveller pitches were needed in Wiltshire. When the original plan was turned down one villager said: “There is much joy and jubilation.”

Mr Belcher said in his findings: “The current need for pitches may indicate an inequality in housing opportunities for Irish travellers in the east Wiltshire housing market area.

“But it is not sufficient to outweigh the serious harm to the appearance of the area.”

Mr Ward, who had previously lived at a Greenacres Mobile Park, Semington, which is run by his father, said a family falling out had meant he and his wife had had to leave.

Wiltshire Council had told the appeal: “The proposed development would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area.

“The proposed solid timber fencing around the entire perimeter, which is already partly installed, is considered to be intentional unauthorised development.”