PLANS to build two homes next to an historic pub will not go ahead – despite a lack of land for new houses.

An application for two detached houses and garages on land to the east of the Bottle Inn at Marshwood was refused by West Dorset District Council earlier this year. A planning inspector has now considered the case and dismissed the appeal – citing concerns that the area is too remote.

Upper Marshwood Vale parish council had objected to the application, stating that the development would be outside the settlement area. Several residents also raised objections.

Planning inspector Janet Wilson states in a report on the appeal: “The main issue in the case is whether the site is an appropriate location for residential development, with regard to accessibility to services and facilities in the context of the development plan policies and the lack of five year housing land supply in the council’s area.”

She adds: “There is no dispute between the parties that the council, at the current time, cannot demonstrate a five year supply of housing.” But the report also notes that the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland local plan directs new development to existing settlements, to strictly control the countryside from residential development other than in special circumstances.
In addition, the benefits of two new homes on the need for new properties would ‘inevitably be modest’.

Other concerns were raised that the site lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but the inspector stated in the report that this is not the case.

“To clarify any confusion the site lies outside, but adjacent to, the boundary of the AONB. Whilst the site is within the setting, it would have minimal visual impact upon the AONB particularly given the mature tree cover.”

She concludes: “I consider that the development would compromise the principles of sustainable development as it would result in new build market housing in the countryside, in an inaccessible location.”

The pub is a listed building, and dates from 1585. It achieved worldwide renown when former landlord Shane Pym established the famous nettle eating championships, which are still held annually. 

The pub closed in March this year but was reopened in summer by owner Michael Brookes and his wife Pauline, who held the annual nettle eating event in August.