PLANS for a huge controversial truck stop just north of Swindon which opponents argued would ruin the landscape have been booted out by a planning inspector.

Haulage contractors William Gilder Ltd first submitted the application for a new roadside truck stop with space for 75 HGVs on land at Ermin Way Farm just off Gloucester Road in Stratton, near Cirencester, nearly three years ago.

The 3.6-hectare scheme included parking, a facilities building, a service yard and landscaping.

This week, a planning inspector backed a decision to refuse the plans, saying the 'alien' development would 'decimate' the tranquillity of the area.

Supporters argued that only having one truck stop in the area, off the A419 in Swindon, was a welfare issue as it forced many drivers to sleep in a lay-by, without the opportunity of a hot meal or the use of toilet facilities.

However, a campaign group called CARG - Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Residents Group - was formed to fight the plans, which they claimed would ruin the area.

The application was eventually refused by Cotswold District Council in March last year on the grounds that it was a 'harmful and insufficiently justified major development within the AONB'.

CDC also stated that insufficient information was given on proposed ecological mitigation measures and on the impact the development would have on existing trees.

Tewkesbury-based William Gilder then appeal against the decision.

After months of consideration, a planning inspector ruled on Monday that the appeal had failed and the plans had been dismissed.

The inspector stated that the main issue was the effect on the character and the appearance of the area.

Reservations were also raised about whether there was a definite need for the development, whether there was scope to develop it outside of the AONB and the extent of detrimental effects the development would have on the environment and landscape.

The appeal decision notice stated: "The proposed development would result in a site to provide parking for up to 75 HGVs with associated facilities, open for seven days a week.

"Such a development would result in the introduction of a significant level of infrastructure to what is currently an open field.

"The proposed development, which would be some 3.6 hectares, would shatter the openness of the land and install an industrial feature into the AONB with the site being dominated by hardstanding and HGVs.

"The size and nature of the proposed development would be an alien and discordant feature, imposing itself upon the more natural landscape."

In addition, the inspector described the present traffic on Gloucester Road as 'sporadic' and said the proposed development would establish a level of activity and infrastructure that would 'decimate this tranquillity'.