AN allotment holder has been refused planning consent for sheds, decking and water tanks on his plot.

The decision comes as more allotment holders are facing being prosecuted by Dorset Council for failing to comply with legal notices.

The authority wants to clear most of the Wyke Regis site, close to the Fleet and South West Coastal Path.

Officers claim it is not only allotments which should not be there but sheds, boats, BBQs, decking, caravans and metres of decking.

Dorset Council has decided against a planning application for Plot 21 at 4 Pirates Lane, Wyke Regis, which is likely to set a precedent for other allotment holders who may also try and seek retrospective planning consent.

The site and neighbouring plots are subject to a 2018 enforcement notice which says that without planning permission for a change of use from agriculture the allotments should not be in use. The land has been classed as ‘agricultural’ which as a legal term does not include allotments.

The legal enforcement notices, which were issued by the former West Dorset District Council, requires that the allotment use stops and that everything else on the site – including sheds, caravans, decking, kayaks, camping equipment, BBQs, washing lines and toilets have to be removed.

The enforcement order went to appeal with the independent Inspector siding with the council, although two plots were exempt from the order.

Since then Dorset Council has instigated prosecutions against some of the plot users for failing to comply with the two month deadline set to vacate their sites in the enforcement notice.

One has already been prosecuted by the council as one of the 45 purchasers who bought plots between November 2015 and March 2017.

A Wyke Regis resident, had used his plot for storing non-agricultural items and equipment and was fined £300 for each of two offences by Weymouth Magistrates last October and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,477. The hearing was told he had repeatedly been warned that the items needed to be taken away from the site, leaving the council no option but to take him to court.

The wider site, which has been subdivided into 120 parcels of land, lies within the West Dorset Heritage Coast and is close to the South West Coastal Path and within view of The Fleet.

Planning officers says the allotments do not comply with the adopted Local Plan, the Chickerell Neighbourhood Plan nor wider landscape and open countryside policies.

Every plot holder was served with enforcement notices in July 2018, requiring unauthorised items to be removed by February 2020.

At the time of the last court case the then Porfolio holder for planning, David Walsh, said the council would continue with legal action 'in due course' against others who had failed to comply with the enforcement notices.

Said an officer report on the recent planning application: “In this particular case, the site along with its neighbouring plots are considered to be poor visually comprising what could be best described as a ramshackle form of development as are parts of the wider adjacent sites. As such it is considered that the proposals as a whole in association with the use of land claimed as an allotment detract from the character and appearance of the locality and its landscape setting.”

Officers say there is a fear that if the planning application for the sheds, decking and water tanks were allowed it might set a precedent: “leading to other similar proposals the cumulative effect of which would be to detract from the designated Heritage Coast landscape character.”

Chickerell Town Council had recommended refusal of the application, adding that there was no justification for such a large decking area. Weymouth Town Council also objected although said it recognised that the plot user was trying to do the right thing in applying for planning permission.

Dorset Council and the ward councillors for both Chickerell and Rodwell and Wyke Regis have been asked to comment on the situation.