LOCAL supporters of a Portland community farm say the site should be allowed to have seasonal camping, including motorhomes.

Several have written to Dorset Council in support of the application for camping use from Easter to the end of October.

Support has also come from Portland Town Council – although subject to highways agreement.

Fancys Farm, at Glacis to the rear of Verne Prison, say the camping use will help support the project which has been struggling financially mainly due to increased costs for animal feed.

Typical of the support is one from a Reforne resident: “I wholeheartedly support this application as it is good use of the site, and provides a valuable amenity for visitors as well as supporting a very popular and well loved community farm.”

Just one letter to Dorset Council questions the camping proposal claiming the access to the site is not good, adding : “The road to Fancys Farm is very tight, in the busy part of the season this will like cause queues and disruption for all locals who want to go to Portland Heights. If the site was to become busy and road becomes too busy, locals wouldn't want to visit Fancys Farm due to the difficulty going in.”

Dorset Highways has asked for further information about the proposals before a decision is made.

Said an officer from the department: "Working to a worst-case scenario this could be 37 cars towing caravans on the approach road known as Glacis, New Ground / Verne Hill Road to End. This is an unlit, gradient road with several narrowings and bends which may limit the ability for two vehicles to pass one another or reverse.

This could have conflict with other highways users such as pedestrians, cyclists etc. who use most of this route to access the south coastal path and tourism viewpoints."

Farm owner Su Illsley says the use of part of the front of the site to host 25-30 pitches for caravan and camping over 28 days from Easter to the end of October, could provide the income needed to meet recent additional costs.

The farm, which has been open for 12 years, has remained free to enter and provided a home to animals such as Portland sheep, goats, donkeys and wallabies.