A FORMER piggery building on a West Dorset farm has been given the green light to be converted into holiday accommodation.

Helen Benedict, from Bonscombe Farm to the West of Shipton Gorge told area planning committee members that unless it was converted there was no longer any use for the building – and holiday income from the building would help support the farm.

The application had been previously approved but came back to councillors because of changes in the planning law relating to areas of National Landscape importance, previously known as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Planning officers had recommended rejecting the planning consent claiming the proposed changes would leave the unit looking out of character and: “reminiscent of a suburban park home dwelling” although a case officer report concluded that the existing building was “of little visual merit or quality and not considered to be worthy of retention in how it relates to local character as it is not a traditional vernacular stone farm building of the area or with any architectural or historical merit.”

Mrs Benedict said there would be little impact on the landscape from the conversion and argued it could be seen as an improvement. She said  there would be no external lighting and the building is masked by surrounding vegetation.

“The existing building, if left without purpose, will fall into disrepair and be more of a blight on the landscape,” she said.

The consent includes a condition which will tie the converted building to the farm and prevent it being sold separately.