OBJECTIONS have been made to plans for an extra 14 holiday cottages at a complex close to Thomas Hardy’s family home at Higher Bockhampton.

One says it would detract from the setting which Hardy once wrote about and knew well from his walks to and from Dorchester.

Neighbour Mr Richard Wheal says that the enlarged scheme in a hamlet of only about a dozen homes would ruin the setting Hardy once wrote about: “His description of the view from the cottage, down the lane towards Greenwood Grange in "Domicilium" is all about peace and calm.

‘A field; then cottages with trees, and last

The distant hills and sky.’

“I would submit that the Thomas Hardy connection is a heritage asset which could very easily be damaged by overdevelopment and as the local plan says ‘high priority will be given to protecting and enhancing the area's heritage assets’ and ‘heritage assets provide wide social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits and once lost they cannot be replaced,’” he wrote.

Other letters to Dorset Council claim the lane used to access the site is too small for the added traffic the scheme will generate with some alleging that the new homes would be an overdevelopment.

Mr Konrad Menzel says in his letter to the council: “Cuckoo Lane is very narrow and used as a route to get to Kingston Maurward and their school. It is also used as a shortcut to get to Dorchester. When an incident occurs on the A35 the lane becomes gridlocked. I have had near accidents when people have pulled out the existing access. Visitors to the woods park in the passing places making it difficult for opposing traffic.”

Another objector, David Fletcher, says the proposed new access onto the lane would only have limited visibility and no view to the south.

Mrs Janet Wheal shares some of the concerns and has written to tell the planning committee that, in her view, the application would more than double the capacity of the holiday complex: “This complex has grown over the last 10 years and the owners have already increased the capacity and this proposed scheme would make it even more built up and out of context in the surrounding countryside,” she said.

Despite the comments the application has not attracted an objection from the Highways Agency or Natural England although the conservation officer has asked for a bat survey before any work begins, if the application is approved.

The planning consent to Dorset Council also involves the demolition of an existing barn as well as a new reception building and changes to access and parking areas.

Most of the cottages will be built on the site of the existing barn and tennis courts with 33 new parking spaces created nearby.

A decision on the application is expected to be made at officer level.