VILLAGERS had been campaigning to prevent it for more than a year – but have been left infuriated at Winchester City Council.

Nick Butler, who has been controversially developing a meadow in Dradfield Lane, Soberton, has moved his residential trailer onto the greenspace.

He first submitted an application to do so in May 2020 but was met with severe backlash from local residents.

The council also issued a stop notice on Mr Butler's works as he had destroyed hedgerow and did not have sufficient planning permissions.

But Angus McCullough who lives nearby said the authority has "failed to take any effective action".

"Due to the lack of any effective enforcement action by WCC in relation to established breaches of planning control, the owner has now taken up residence on the site," he said in a letter to the council.

"This has been made possible by the enlarged entrance that was created in May 2020, and confirmed to be in breach of planning control in the Planning Inspector’s decision of 8 March 2021.

"Rather than addressing this breach (with its associated destruction of an ‘important’ hedgerow, constituting a criminal offence under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997) and requiring reinstatement, the council invited a further planning application, so enabling the residential trailer to be installed, adding to the trailer and container installed in May 2020.

"Other aspects of the development to facilitate the residential occupation, including the expansion of the hardstanding and the digging of a cess pit have also taken place without any intervention by the council, who have either overlooked these works or accepted them to be permitted development for agricultural use (based on the ruse of introducing a few pigs onto the site), despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary."

Mr McCullough said the council did not have any enforcement officers available on the August bank holiday weekend – when Mr Butler moved his trailer onto the meadow.

His letter continues: "It cannot be suggested that this development was unheralded, unforeseen, or unforeseeable.

"From the outset, in May 2020, the owner advertised his intention to convert the original white trailer to residential occupation, and to bring on his own residential trailer onto the site, using the site as a trailer park for residential units for ‘off grid’ living.

"The council were provided with full details of these plans, including the owner’s social media postings, so were well aware of the underlying purpose of the substantive development. Despite that, the council has failed to take any effective action to curtail the development of what had been a pristine rural site and is now largely enclosed by two metre high closed panel fencing, has extensive laid hardstanding, a trampoline, archery facilities, with a road and mains water laid down the centre, as well as extensive drainage works."

Nick Butler has not responded to the Chronicle's requests for comment.