A 20-space camper van site planned for an open grassland site off New Ground, Portland would threaten the destruction of the area, according to objectors.

The site is behind the Heights Hotel, adjacent to the reservoir and opposite the council parking areas.

Proposals submitted to Dorset Council say the site, alongside the Tearoom which has planning consent, won on appeal in 2018, could be open all year.

It says the proposal is designed to address the shortage of camper van sites in the area – possibly putting an end to illegal camper van parking on other car parks where there are no facilities for toilet emptying, bins or water.

Weymouth Civic Society has said the application should be rejected – as a similar scheme for 27 pitches was, on appeal.

Said Pauline Crump from the Society: “This is a most important location, visited by people to enjoy the magnificent views over the sea and Chesil Beach. The immediate view of the camper van site would detract significantly from the visitor experience. In our opinion this is not the right location for such a use….we fear that this proposal, breaking into the unspoilt stretch of grassland, could set a precedent for more such development, threatening the further destruction of the area’s character.”

The application for the camper van site claims that the use will leave the natural habitat largely untouched.

It says there are no hard standing proposes, nor electric hook up and even ground sheets will not be allowed with visits limited to seven days.

Said an application document supporting the proposal: “The tearoom and visitor centre will provide easy access to services such as water, waste, toilet emptying, bins and daytime toilets. The pitches will occupy the front of the land only which is opposite the New Ground car parks and does not interfere with the existing public footpath across the land. The identified site is the least sensitive part of the land ownership in terms of biodiversity…

Given the transient nature of the use and the lack of any new permanent facilities, other than a modest open facility to accommodate a toilet/waste disposal point, water and bin store, the development will largely retain its open character.”