ANOTHER holiday site planning application has been waiting more than two years for a decision from Dorset Council  – as the new season gets underway.

A farm campsite near Weymouth had been hoping to extend in time for the 2023 season but is still waiting for a decision. Another site, at Owermoigne, as reported last week, has suffered the same time-lag with its application to double capacity.

The latest site to be affected is at East Shilvinghampton Farm, Portesham, just outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It had asked Dorset Council to approve a change of use for farmland to become part of the existing campsite.

Government guidelines suggest most applications should be decided within 16 weeks.

The farm has requested consent for eight self-contained one-bed holiday units, amended from an application which was previously turned down by the council, where it claimed there could be ‘harm’ to the landscape.

Application papers for the application were validated in September 2022.

More than a year ago the former ward councillor, Mark Roberts, who has since lost his seat, urged the council to get on and make a decision, claiming the area need more authorised sites to help tackle ‘wild camping’ .

The Shilvinghampton applications says each of the flat-roofed holiday units would have its own bathroom and a veranda, each with a total floor area of 35 square metres.

A planning agent acting for the farm says the proposed holiday homes would be largely screened by existing hedges and designed to be as inobtrusive as possible – although this appears not to have been accepted by the council’s landscape officer and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team.

Said Mr Roberts in his 2023 letter pleading for a resolution: “My ward suffers from the highest level of wild (illegal) camping; it is an issue for Dorset Council all along the Chesil Beach. It is essential that suitable sites such as this application are approved in order to provide legitimate and properly managed sites for the increasing numbers of tourists that want to visit and enjoy our wonderful coast and its farms and hamlets … The combined Chesil Bank parish council fully support this application.”

A planning agent’s summary to the council says: “This extension to an existing tourist facility will have limited visual impact on the neighbouring Area Outstanding Natural Beauty but will provide a valuable asset to the local tourism economy providing employment opportunities and benefiting local businesses. It will also provide a long-term addition to the business diversity of this established farming enterprise.”

One neighbour has written to Dorset Council to question if the extra development is wanted: “Do we really need more holiday accommodation in this area. Where does it stop, when there is no ground left?... It is agricultural land. Wise up people. We live here because its beautiful. We are slowly and systematically spoiling this area.”

Chesil Bank Parish Council did not object to the expansion plans but said it had concerns over the extra traffic which might be generated on single-track roads in the area, although Dorset Council Highways officers have not objected.

The latest papers shown in the online application is for a flood risk management report filed in May 2023.

It is understood that council officers are awaiting the completion of a legal agreement about the conditions the site must abide by before the application is signed off.

The farm confirmed that there had been a delay but said it understood that the issue was likely to be concluded in the near future, hopefully in time to make the changes to the holiday site before the summer main season.