Councillors will need to consider the removal of planning restrictions on a former iconic radio transmission station in the West Dorset countryside to allow for wildlife to graze on the site, it has emerged.

The Rampisham Down site next to the A356 Maiden Newton to Crewkerne road, which extends to more than 180 acres was put on the market with a guide price of £2.5 million in June.

However, British Solar Renewables who wanted to build a huge solar park there but shelved the plans in January 2017 after a lengthy planning battle now have to obtain formal legal planning consent from West Dorset District Council to allow for wildlife to graze on the site after it was put on the Market.

Rampisham Down was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2014 for its special grassland and heathland habitats however the current planning consent restricts its use for grazing and agricultural uses.

The restrictions do not currently allow livestock grazing on the site which Bristol Solar Renewables said in its present condition was too hazardous for livestock to use.

Consequently, this could put limits on its use for future agricultural development or use as a result.

A spokesman for the company said: "Rampisham Down Transmitting Station has been placed on the open market (in its entirety or the buildings and land sold separately), however, with the s106 in place this restricts any new owner

having the ability to gain funding to assist with the management of the grassland area.

"We are now seeking to remove obligations that have been discharged, to assist with the disposing of the asset and to ensure there is the ability to assist the new owner of Rampisham Down with funding the management and maintenance of the site."

However, if the conditions are removed, British Solar Renewables, said that the grazing sections would be cut and any associated material removed in order to maintain an average sward height of 3-10 cm.

They added: "Cutting will remove bulk, open the sward and remove dwarf scrub species such as gorse and thorn. "Cuttings will be removed and disposed of appropriately."

Following the condition removal, it is envisaged that the whole area around the site will be grazed by cattle, sheep, hardy ponies (which could be combinations of livestock) to maintain the open grassland and heathland vegetation.

Variety of potential uses

Natural England will also have to approve the proposals prior to any development work taking place.

Advertising the site, commercial property firm Greenslade Taylor Hunt, which is marketing the site, says it has the potential for a variety of uses, subject to planning.

A spokesman said: “It has the potential to provide a unique retreat facility or conference centre, while the extensive grounds could be a great base for a recreational-focused business.”

However, the new owners of the site will also have to clear a significant amount of hazardous debris which has been left on the site since it was vacated by the BBC in 2011.

This includes redundant electrical cabling as well as the remaining towers and associated infrastructure.

A buyer is currently in the process of being found for the 10-acre site.