An application to register a site on the edge of the King Charles Estate at Bradpole as a village green has been delayed.

Dorset councillors were to have discussed the application for what is known as the Happy Island Field at their meeting on Monday but were told that the decision would be deferred.

Residents had wanted the land registered to help protect it – but the landowner had objected and a council official had claimed that the application may not meet the criteria set out in the Commons Act of 2006.

The application for the 2.3 hectare site, a grassed area, had come from the King Charles Estate Residents Association. The area is bounded to the south west by Happy Island Way, to the south east by Jessopp Avenue, to the north west by Footpath 8 adjacent the River Asker and to the north east by open fields with Footpath 9 crossing the site.

The legislation says that to succeed an application must prove that “a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood in a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the Land for a period of at least 20 years and that they continued to do so at the time of the application.”

A council report says that when the period for comments closed, in May 2015, objections were received from a local resident and the Farmers Club Charitable Trust as landowner.

The initial application had been made in February 2013 with a revised application in June 2013, supported by statements of evidence from 16 witnesses.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the owner argued that the evidence produced was insufficient and did not prove use for 20 years or more. They said the Farmers Club had owned the site since 1996, letting it out for growing crops and grazing which they argue would have interrupted any public use of the field, apart from crossing it on the footpath.

Signs had been put up, although later torn down, in 2008 saying that the site was private land and there was no public access, apart from on the footpath.

In March 2012 the site was identified in the draft Local Plan as an alternative site for housing but the proposal was removed from the draft following consultation.