FORDE Abbey has been given consent is build its own sewage treatment plant.

The site currently discharges its waste from the house and toilet blocks into an underground culvert which runs east to west in front of the main building.

The owners, the Kennard family, say their aim is to rectify this and have already received an Environment Agency permit for the limited discharge of treated sewerage from the proposed treatment works into the River Axe.

The listed building, a former Cistercian monastery, on the West Dorset-Somerset border, has been home to the Mortlake tapestries for 300 years. It is on the edge of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the building is a scheduled ancient monument, parts of it dating back to the mid-12th century.

The approved plans will involve laying new pipes to the north of the house along an existing walkway with a similar pipe run from the toilet block through the kitchen garden. The sewage treatment plant will be underground with a control kiosk hidden from public view to the west of the kitchen garden wall.

Only the lid of the sewage treatment plant and the control kiosk will be visible above ground in an area which is not accessible to the public and out of view.

The applications says the proposals will continue to allow the historic site to attract and cater for visitors while at the same time making environmental improvements.