Plans for four shepherd huts, toilets and a shower facility in the garden of a popular village pub have been met with fierce objections from residents living nearby.

The proposals for the Hare and Hounds, Waytown, have been put forward by Palmers and include an area for parking.

But villagers in Waytown and Netherbury are up in arms about the application, claiming it would strip their local pub of most of its garden, negatively impact the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and potentially increase parking problems.

The pub was declared a community asset in 2016 after a campaign by the Supporters of The Hare and Hounds (SHH) group, which has 150 members.

The SHH says the new site would be an eyesore on the Bride Valley skyline and that the plan would make the pub less viable as it would drive away much of the summer business on which it depends.

Many have now written to Dorset Council to lodge their objections, along with Netherbury Parish Council, which said: ‘The parish council have now been informed by a number of parishioners, including the SHH, that there are strong objections to this planning application. In light of these objections, the parish council does not support the application and would refer you to the comments made by the parish council upon the submission of the original application.

‘In addition, there are strongly-held views that the proposals contained in the planning application are more likely to jeopardise the future viability of the public house rather than assist in the viability.’

One objector said the huts would lead to congestion in the car park in summer and overflow onto the road as well as being detrimental to a ‘needed and valued local amenity.’

They said the accommodation was not in keeping with the area and, should it go ahead, would lead to significant loss of the pub’s garden which, along with the added activities of campers, ‘would infringe on existing business.’

Plans were originally submitted in 2017 but, after a series of negotiations over the layout, that scheme was withdrawn.

An architect and design consultant letter for the revised application says the huts are now more randomly configured and the toilet and shower block has been moved to the far end of the field, with the car parking for the huts now adjacent to the existing car park.

“This will also enable the continued use of the open area for outside functions; the loss of which appears to be the main reason for public objection to the [previous] scheme,” said Robbie Roskell, acting for the pub.

“The limited scale of the proposal will ensure that there will be minimal visual intrusion within the landscape, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would therefore be compliant with (environmental) policy which aims to protect the visual character of the area,” he said.

The SHH says it would like to see the application discussed at committee, though it is expected to be decided by a planning officer.