A PLANNING battle that has been burning on since last June has almost been extinguished.

Nick Butler started unlawfully developing a meadow in Soberton in the summer.

Following backlash from residents and a stop notice from the city council, he submitted a retrospective planning application.

Now, that application has been refused by Winchester City Council officers.

Mr Butler has appealed the decision to The Planning Inspectorate – but if this fails he will have to remove the hardstandings, trailers and gates that he has installed at the Dradfield Lane site.

Stating why the application was rejected, Julie Pinnock, service lead for built environment at the council, said: "The inappropriate design scale and extent of the gates and boundary treatment along the frontage of the site introduce an urban/suburban appearance, enclosing the site which is alien to the landscape character of this rural area and contrary to policy CP20 of the Winchester District Local Plan.

"The removal of a section of hedgerow has led to the loss of habitat that is legally protected. The application does not seek to adequately mitigate this loss or as a last resort compensate for the loss of this habitat.

"Furthermore the benefits of the scheme are limited and do not outweigh the unmitigated harm caused to ecology."

The Chronicle has contacted Mr Butler and awaits a response.