ALMOST every resident in a hamlet near Weymouth has objected to a six-week extension to a campsite close to their homes.

Buckland Ripers residents told Dorset Council that smells and noise from the site and the extra traffic it brings force many to go indoors and shut their windows and doors during the peak summer season.

Campsite staff have claimed some of the residents persistently trespass on the site and some have been abusive to them with someone flying a drone above the camp field.

Despite the claims and counter-claims Dorset councillors approved the extension which will allow the tent-only site adjacent to Buckland House to open from mid-May to the end of August. It has previously been limited to July and August only.

Some members of the planning committee said they would like to help the residents but could find nothing, in planning terms, to reject the application. They voted 7-2 to approve the longer season.

Council officers had recommended approving the application.

The original permission was given in 2019 with that application attracting 30 objections including from Chickerell Town Council, which also objected to the six-week extension.

The site owners told councillors that despite the claims of residents about multiple complaints there had only been one to environmental health, about smells from a barbecue, with Dorset Council taking no action.

They said that the site not only offered peaceful holidays for visitors but boosted the local economy with the sale of local produce with visitors also using local shops, restaurants, and pubs. It also offered some jobs for site wardens and other staff.

The application asked for the earlier start to the season to take advantage of the Whitsun break.

One resident in a letter to the area planning committee said councillors were being asked to decide between residents or revenue.

He said the site did not benefit the local area, questioned the need for a longer season and said that residents had repeatedly complained about noise and smells.

Another said that noise often continued until the early hours and that sound of hair driers in the toilet blocks could be heard day and night from homes closest to the site.

“We resort to living inside and closing our windows,” said one letter writer.

Support for the application came from staff employed at the site who spoke of the benefits to families camping there and to the local economy, one adding that they could not understand the hostility from some of the residents of Buckland Ripers.

Local councillors Jean Dunseith and John Worth asked the committee to consider the rights of residents to have the quiet enjoyment of their homes and gardens and not extend the season.

“The residents live with disturbance, noise and smells from July to August…they are alarmed this could be increased for all of the summer,” said Cllr Dunseith.

An agent for the campsite said that there had been no objection from any of the statutory consultees and that the one complaint about the smells from a barbecue had not been taken any further.

“Some would consider it a normal summer smell,” he said.