Heritage lovers, literature fans and South Marston folk are singing paeans of joy after planning officers threw out a bid to build a new house in the grounds of Hammerman Poet Alfred Williams's home.

The owner of Ranikhet in Chapel Lane, Ian Selby, who runs a property company, had wanted permission to build a house in the front garden.

He already had approval for plans for two other houses behind the property, but the latest plan was refused.

Borough council planning officers said: “The proposed development by virtue of its relationship, separation distance and location of windows would result in a poor standard of amenity in terms of privacy for the future occupiers of the proposed dwelling and the occupants of Ranikhet.”

The plan was opposed by a number of people Anne Featherstone, who lives in the village and is a member of the Friends of Alfred Williams started a petition which had 170 signatories.

She said: “We are very happy this plan has been turned down.

"We always are aware that applicants can take it to appeal, but we do hope that the planning reasons given for refusal mean that the refusal is strong.

"The owner is a property developer so I’m sure he's looking at it.”

Mrs Featherstone said she hoped the publicity would mean more people want to protect the house and other heritage assets in the area.

“This has certainly raised awareness and a lot of people have come out of the woodwork wanting to save the house.

"I hope it sparks people to want to take more of an interest in Swindon’s heritage and preserving it for the future.”

Mrs Featherstone added that the Friends of Alfred Williams and the Alfred Williams Heritage Society would be working together to try and get the house listed to ensure it is protected in the future.

Ward councillor Russell Holland was also pleased at the decision. He said: “The house in front of the property would have been over-development of the site and would have affected an important heritage asset.

“It’s important to protect these historic buildings.”

It is not known whether Mr Selby will appeal against Swindon Borough Council’s decision.

The Adver has tried to contact his planning agents several times for comment, but calls and emails have not been responded to.