A GWENT castle described as one of Wales’ most significant architectural buildings in on the market for £1.5 million.

Ruperra Castle, in Lower Machen, has been put up for sale by owner Ashraf Barakat more than a decade after he bought it with the intention of turning the largely ruined castle and outbuildings into high-end flats and housing.

But Mr Barakat was refused planning permission by Caerphilly County Borough Council and his appeal against the decision was also thrown out following a four-day planning inquiry.

The Grade II* listed castle was built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, and King Charles reportedly stayed at the castle in 1645.

The original building burned down in 1785 and was rebuilt in the gothic style, but it was destroyed by fire once again in 1941.

The ruins been in private ownership since the 1950s, and was bought by Mr Barakat in 1998.

In 2002, developers Barakat Ruperra Limited applied to convert the main castle into 11 flats.

The proposals also included plans to turn the nearby stables into eight homes, and build a further 18 houses in the surrounding grounds.

But local conservationists objected to the plans and there was an extensive campaign by Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust to save the 'unique' building.

Caerphilly council’s planning committee rejected the application in 2007 on the grounds that it would ruin historic buildings and environment.

Barakat Ruperra Limited appealed against the decision, but following a four-day planning enquiry in April 2009 a planning inspector concluded the plans would be" significantly harmful to the historic character of the site and its landscape".

Assembly ministers ruled the council's decision should stand.

The “romantic ruin” will now be sold through estate agent Savills, who said they have already seen a great deal of interest in the property.

Mr Barakat said yesterday: "We originally had a vision to bring Ruperra Castle back into use. We haven’t been able to achieve this and we feel the time is now right for someone else to take up the mantle and fulfil the huge potential of this historic monument."

Anyone interest should contact Savills on 02920 368 930.