Plans to convert a barn into an 'executive' four-bed villa have been turned down.

The proposal for a site at Main Street, Loders, to demolish one rural outbuilding and convert another into living accommodation was unanimously rejected by Dorset Council's Planning Committee.

It was rejected on the grounds that the increase in size, change of use and location of the building in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would not be in the interest of the community.

"It's not really a conversion, it's a demolition of what's already there, rebuilding it and adding an extension to make it over 200 per cent bigger", said Cllr Nick Ireland.

The current building is reported to be 167 square foot, whilst the proposed building is 384 square foot.

Concerns were also raised that should the plans be accepted, it could set a precedent for other development in the area.

Objectors said that the community of Loders had been actively involved in drawing up a Local Plan for the area, which sets out a clear boundary for where new developments are permitted to be built - known as a defined development boundary (DDB).

The rules can only be broken in exceptional circumstances if there is a justifiable reason for a new build - for example, to provide affordable homes.

Loders Parish Council has also objected to the scheme. Parish councillor Michele Warrington urged the committee to reject the application.

"The parish council maintains that the size and scale is contrary to a number of policies in the Local Plan", she said.

"We are concerned there has been no biodiversity or ecological survey."

Concerns were also raised about the proposed development being in close proximity to a flood zone.

Diane Hay, a Loders resident, said the property is on the flood plain of the River Asker, which is "extremely fragile". "About once every year it collapses", she said.

"This is a large four of five bedroom home - some might call it a mansion. It's four times larger than what is there at present - of course it's a new build."

David Wren, on behalf of the developer, said: "This is a sustainable development in line with national policy".

The application was unanimously rejected by the committee.