Retrospective planning permission refused at campsite on Potterne Way

Work already carried out at a Verwood camp site has been refused planning permission.

The Omaha site at Potterne Way, had asked for retrospective consent for a wooden toilet and shower block and electrical hook-up points for caravans and motorhomes.

The single storey wooden-clad block, 6 by 2metres, has been built in a half-acre field next to the Omaha house on a Caravan and Motorhome Club certified site, although Dorset Council say that, in planning terms, the site is unauthorised.

Among the objections was one from the Erica Trust, a conservation charity, which owns 60 acres of recognised areas of wildlife and heathland importance immediately south of Potterne Park.

It said that no camping should be allowed within 400 metres of the recognised nature sites under the terms of the Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework, although the Omaha site is only 270 metres away.

Said a charity trustee: “We are very concerned that the campsite will increase the adverse pressures on our site which the DHPF is designed to prevent. Although the application is for the toilet block, it is clearly a key ingredient in making this a fully fledged camp site and not a temporary site which we believe can be used for 28 days (under normal circumstances) without planning consent.”

Verwood town council lodged a similar comment in objection with concerns also submitted by the Environment Agency.

Natural England warned that campers were likely to increase pressure on the heathland, especially the Holt and West Moors Heaths, and said that it would like to see enforcement action taken to stop the use of the site.

A Dorset Council planning case officer concluded: “The proposed retention of the toilet and shower block, along with electrical hook-up points would not be associated with a lawful use of the land for camping and caravanning.

“The use of the land for these purposes represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt which would result in harm to the openness of the Green Belt. No very special circumstances have been identified which would outweigh the harm arising from the change of use.”

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