A NEWLY built wall next to a Dorchester shop may have to be pulled down.

The recommendation comes from a Dorset Council officer after a retrospective planning application for the wall divided opinion among town councillors.

Planning permission should have been sought to replace the old wall, made of stone and Broadmayne brick, because the site lies within a conservation area.

Instead the wall was torn down and replaced with a brick wall and a timber fence topping, before planning consent was asked for.

An attempt by a town councillor to stop the work was too late for Dorset Council to act.

Planning rules covering all the town’s conservation areas have been in place for several years to protect walls, railings and fences – in an attempt to stop people pulling down historic features, often to create off-road parking.

When asked for their comments on the retrospective planning application for the wall, adjacent to the One Stop shop in Kings Road, town councillors found themselves divided.

Some argued that they ought to recommend rejecting the planning application, which could result in the new wall having to be removed, to make a point about the importance of the rules to protect historic features.

Others were happy with the new wall, but wanted the wooden fencing removed; while some were content with the change, although not pleased that consent was not sought before the work was carried out.

Said ward councillor Molly Rennie: “We now have a modern wall within the terrace which doesn’t fit in with the area. It is a well-built wall, but it’s out of keeping.”

Cllr Kate Reid said the new wall looked better than the previous structure, saying it would seem “a bit obtuse to ask for it to be reinstated”.

Said Cllr Robin Potter: “It’s regrettable that it’s been done, but the aesthetic is not as bad as it might have been.”

Cllr Les Fry said he had no real problem with the new wall, although objected to the timber fencing on top: “We should not object and say that it is with great regret that it wasn’t done in consultation before the work was started,” he said.

A Dorset Council conservation officer report proposes the new wall will need to be demolished because of the 'harm' it causes to the conservation area: "The wall will need to be removed, if the original bricks and stones can be salvaged these will need to be reinstated. If not, a planning application will be needed to build a wall with matching bricks and stones as close as can be reasonably found. The fencing should also be removed and the modern gate."

A final decision has yet to be made by Dorset Council on the retrospective application with the proposal currently open to public comment.