A high-end holiday home has been approved for Parnham House – councillors going against an officer recommendation to refuse it.

The new four-bedroom building, together with a swimming pool and pool house, will be the mirror image of the adjacent Dower House, at one of the entrances to the estate, off the A3066 near Beaminster.

Dorset Council planning officers had argued that the building, although to a high standard, would cause ‘harm’ to the overall setting of the listed Dower House, Parnham House itself and the parks and gardens, also listed.

But councillors disagreed, arguing that if anything the level of ‘harm’ would only be minimal and will be outweighed by the economic benefits of providing the estate with an income stream which, in turn, will help pay for the restoration of the main house and stables block badly damaged by a devastating fire in April 2017.

Cllr John Worth, who proposed rejecting the officer’s views and accepting the development, said the new property was needed by the estate, was a near-perfect mirror of the Dower House and in a decade’s time most people would probably think it had always been there.

Cllr Nick Ireland argued that the level of harm was always subjective and, in his view, it could be argued that the new property would augment the overall setting.

The estate has always argued that to pay for renovations it needs to create an income stream, mainly from holiday accommodation and leisure activities, including functions. In recent years it has won planning approvals for four River Lodges and six Orchard ‘Rooms’, which have yet to be built, and further plans are being made for the future.

Agent for the estate, Ed Grant, told councillors that “a quantum of hospitality offerings” were needed to support the estate financially with the repair bill for the fire damage become more substantial as time went on.

“This house is a mirror of the Dower House. To argue that it would detract from it makes no sense…we were surprised to hear the officer’s negative comments,” he said, adding that the new house would also allow the estate to re-instate the gates and piers.

Craig Monks from Beaminster Town Council said local councillors were fully behind the Parnham House plans: “It’s preservation is not just of local interest but a duty we all owe to help finance the restoration for the benefit of Beaminster and wider Dorset.”

He said the new holiday let home would provide building jobs and, over the years to come, bring extra visitors into the area which would benefit the local economy as well as help finance the restoration of the fire-damaged main house and stables.