A SMALLHOLDER's dream of living on his land with his exoctic birds in a Hampshire village has been scuppered.

Robert Memory was living in a motorvan at the half-acre holding off Alresford Drove in South Wonston.

He hit the headlines last summer when six of his ostrich-like rheas escaped from his enclosure.

Most were recaptured.

The city council refused him permission to live on the site in his Winnebago and so Mr Memory appealed.

Now the planning inspectors has ruled that Mr Memory must stop living on the site and remove a freezer and washing machine, although as agricultural land it can still be farmed.

Planning inspector Graham Dudley, in his ruling upholding the council enforcement notice, said: "The Winnebago, with its harsh, angular and bulky form, is an alien and incongruous feature in this position and causes harm to the important rural character of the area. It conflicts with LP Policy DP3, as in terms of design it does not respond positively to the character and appearance of the area and causes considerable harm, which would be the case even for a temporary period.

"I conclude that the appellant has not demonstrated on the balance of probability an agricultural need justifying a permanent or temporary permission for agricultural accommodation. The appellant’s personal circumstances do not outweigh or justify the conflict with development plan policies and the impact on the countryside, so the appeal is dismissed."

Neighbours were delighted at the result. Catherine Hawkins, who lives next door, said: "I haven't heard any champagne corks going but I think they were probably opened more quietly. I was going to be a little more open but it rained.

"I'm very heartened by the decision and look forward to Mr Memory complying with the order to refrain from using the site as residential within the next four months stipulated by the inspector."

June Perrins, chairman of South Wonston Parish Council, which objected to Mr Memory's living on site, did not want to comment about the case: "It is entirely up to the city council and its enforcement team. I am not going to comment on Mr Memory, it is a sensitive issue. I would rather let the authorities take this forward."

Mr Memory was unavailable for comment.

It is the second plot in Alresford Drove where people living without planning permission have been ordered to leave this year.