A DORSET pub wants to build five ‘eco’ camping pods in its grounds to help offset the effects of the pandemic on its business.

The Sandford Public House on the outskirts of Wareham says the pods, which would not have cooking facilities, would be put on a hard standing next to the beer garden, previously used for marquees.

The site lies outside but next to the Green Belt and within the 400m Heathland Buffer Zone.

Each pods contains a bedroom, shower room and lounge area with a small deck to the front.

The pub planning application argues that the development would “complement and enhance” the quality and choice of tourist accommodation in area and would not be harmful to the environment.

“The siting of the pods would enable the existing pub business to continue to be financially viable as a community facility within Sandford Key Service Village. Whilst the pub has recently undergone refurbishment, the impacts from the 2020 Covid-19 restrictions has meant that the business has suffered immensely financially. The income from the camping pods would make the best viable use of the land and enable the existing pub business to invest, expand and adapt in order to have a reasonable opportunity to continue to operate viably following such uncertain and difficult times. This would have clear social and economic benefits to the local community,” said a statement from a planning agent.

The document also argued that there would be no noticeable or significant increase in visitor numbers or traffic movements to and from the site, but says that while there might be some addition noise from the camping pods this is likely to be minimal compared to the existing use of the pub garden area.

The neighbour consultation on the application closes on May 14th – with no comments currently registered either for or against the application on the Dorset Council planning website.

A decision is expected to be made by a council officer without the application coming before a committee of councillors.