The quarrying company Earthline, which has been told to knock down the buildings it has been using at Wroughton airfield for years, has said it is already breaking down its operation.

But it is waiting, a spokesman said, for planning permission on a new office location before it is able to entirely return the site at Hangar Six at the airfield to its previous condition.

The company took over the site at hangars six and seven in 2014.

It put hard standing to create a lorry park, built a weighbridge and office block to house staff and added a vehicle washing area and refuelling plant without obtaining planning permission.

In 2020, Swindon Borough Council ordered the company to remove it all, after a campaign by villagers in the small villages near the airfield who said the number of lorries thundering past was unbearable.

Earthline later submitted a retrospective application to regularise the buildings - but then withdrew them, and then appealed against the council’s enforcement to the government-appointed planning inspector.

The inspector dismissed Earthline's appeal against the council's decision and gave it 15 months to remove these unapproved additions to the site, and restore it to how it was, which included levelling the ground and re-seeding it with grass.

The early November deadline to make good the site has passed, and inspectors from Swindon Borough Council visited last week.

A council spokesman said: “Our officers visited the site earlier this week and noted that it is no longer being used. However, there is some non-compliance with the enforcement notice and the Council is considering its next steps.

“As this matter relates to legal enforcement, the Council is unable to provide further information at this time.”

A spokesman for Earthline said: ”Council officers visited us last week and we are waiting to hear from them after that visits.”

He added: “The trucks have been moved and the fuel tanks are being removed as well.

“We are waiting to hear from planning about a new location for our new offices. But we are intending to comply with the enforcement order.

“The planning system is not quick, so we’re having to wait for that.”

The spokesman was not able to say where the company hoped to move its offices to.

It’s not against the law to build without planning permission, and not unusual to build something and apply for retrospective permission.

It runs the risk, however, of refusal and having to remove the building and return the site to its previous condition – with court action being a planning authority’s ultimate sanction.