PLANS to build hobbit-style homes in the Hampshire countryside have been refused by the planning inspectorate.

The planning inspectorate, Robert Fallon, deemed that the application by Michael Wigley and John Glasspool will "cause significant harm to the landscape character and appearance of the area".

The plans, designed by Portess and Richardson Architects, proposed three single-storey, four bedroom, homes to be built on land to the north of Stockbridge Road, Timsbury.

Their unique design used the 'earth sheltering' building technique whereby the house is partially or wholly sunk into the site and then covered by soil.

This allows the earth to provide insulation for the home, making it a fossil fuel free, low carbon and a greener alternative to standard insulation.

Robert Fallon added: "I recognise that the appellant’s Landscape Visual Impact Assessment shows that long and medium views to the site would be effectively screened by intervening tree and hedgerow cover and the undulating landform.

"However, despite this document concluding that the magnitude of the change to the landscape would be minor and the significance of the impact slight, it is my view that from a localised perspective, the impact on the landscape would be significantly greater than this for the reasons identified above."

Michael Wigley confirmed that they will not be looking to get the decision overturned.

He said: "The process of trying to make our vision of zero carbon living happen in Romsey has taken us six years and the price of an expensive car each.

"There is a hard limit to what individuals can afford to do with planning.

"We won't be progressing our ideas again under the current planning regime.

"The houses being built in Test Valley are carbon positive - they generate carbon - meaning they actually make it harder for the UK to meet the requirements of the climate change act.

"Last week's David Attenborough documentary, 'Climate Change: The Facts' told us that, if anything, the situation is far worse than we thought."

The plans were originally thrown out by members of the Southern Area Planning Committee of Test Valley Borough Council, for "failure to demonstrate that there is an essential need for the proposed development to be located in the countryside".