BOROUGH councillors have refused planning permission for building work designed to save a barn near Northlew.

Work has already begun at the barn at Broomhill, which is situated in a one acre plot adjacent to the road. The works already carried out include a damp proof course, cavity walling, a new concrete floor and door and window openings.

The applicant, John Dixon, had applied to retain the barn for agricultural use and carry out repair works to make the barn fit to house sheep, including the strengthening of walls with internal concrete blocks.

Northlew Parish Council had supported the application, as long as there was no further application in future to change the barn's use.

Against the recommendation of the planning officer, borough councillors at a planning meeting on March 10 refused the application by seven votes to two, stating that the work already carried out was excessive and more in keeping with a domestic property.

Cllr Mike Benson, ward member for Bere Ferrers said: 'I am gravely concerned by the insulation block work and the domestication of this historic barn building.'

Cllr Terry Pearce said: 'I am surprised by what has gone on here. It bears little resemblance to what was there before.

'The repairs go far beyond what was needed on the end wall.

'I don't think it would be used for stock, looking at the work. It is stunning how the site has been altered.'

For more information visit the West Devon planning website, quoting reference number 01379/2014.