A nine-year wait to register a site at on the King Charles Estate at Bradpole as a village green has been rejected.

Residents lodged the application to protect the Happy Island Field in 2013 but the request was only decided on Monday, the council claiming a lack of resources had partially led to the delay.

A Dorset Council area planning committee meeting heard that the landowner had objected to the request and council officials said it did 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 of use of the field over more than 20 years.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the owner argued that the evidence produced was insufficient and did not prove use for 20 years or more with the Farmers Club owning 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 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 for housing but was removed from the draft following consultation.

Committee members agreed that the application did not meet the legal tests for registration with several witness statements admitting they had seen the 2008 signs which warned that the land was private with no right of access, apart from on the official footpath.

Said Cllr Belida Rideout: “I don’t under-estimate the importance of the field to residents. … people do, sort of, take ownership of an area, but we have to respect that it is a private field.”

Cllr Jean Dunseith shared the view but said that there was little doubt that blackberry picking, kite flying and picnics would continue as much as they had in the past and the footpath itself remained protected.