PLANS to build an eco-friendly home in one of Devizes most iconic settings, close to the town's castle, have been turned down by Wiltshire Council.

Landowner Robin Smart, whose parents owned and worked the glass houses at the foot of the castle mound for nearly 30 years, spoke of his disappointment that the project had been rejected.

He said: "I am very disappointed we followed all the correct procedures and worked with an architect to come up with a scheme that would have been in-keeping with the site. It is innovative with grass walls and built on split levels to blend in with the landscape.

"We have to maintain the site even though it is now derelict. We will consider whether or not to appeal."

The plan for a four bedroom house and integral garaging was refused despite Mr Smart having support of Wiltshire councillor Sue Evans from Devizes.

The eastern area planning committee was told that the site is located within the limits of development for Devizes but the main consideration was its setting close to Devizes Castle, which is a scheduled monument and a Grade I listed building.

The castle walls are Grade II listed and nearby St John's Church Grade I listed.

Devizes Town Council did not object to the plan but said it would not want to see any further development on the site.

Planning officer Nick Clark said the recommendation was to refuse the plan for the former horticultural buildings. He said there had been objections from Historic England, Wiltshire's conservation officer and the assistant county archaeologist.

He said: "The proposed house, due to its siting, height, bulk, design and associated hard landscaping and associated residential paraphernalia and activity will have an adverse impact on the significance of designated heritage assets."

But a report on behalf of Mr Smart countered this by saying: "There would be no harm to the heritage significance of the listed buildings or Scheduled Monument.

"No clear and convincing justification has been provided for the development in terms of public benefits, but the supporting statement suggests that the development would enable the applicant to continue his family’s long association with the site and to provide a custodian for the future care and maintenance of this sensitive location."

Devizes Castle had its origins in about 1080 as an early Norman motte and bailey with wooden pallisade and tower, says Historic England.

The wooden castle was burnt down but its stone-built successor was described by contemporary chroniclers as 'the finest and most splendid in Europe'.

During the Civil War the town was Royalist and the castle was ordered to be slighted in 1646. From about the mid-19th century a castellated folly was built on the motte in Victorian Gothic style.