A town has thrown its support behind the owners of Parnham House and the work they're doing to restore the Grade II-listed house and estate. 

As reported, a high-end holiday home has been approved for the estate – with Dorset Councillors going against an officer recommendation to refuse it.

At a meeting of Dorset Council's Western and Southern Planning Committee, councillors argued the level of ‘harm’ the officer raised as a potential problem would only be minimal and will be outweighed by the economic benefits of providing the estate with an income stream which, in turn, will help pay for the restoration of the main house and stables block badly damaged by a devastating fire in April 2017.

Craig Monks, chairman of Beaminster Town Council, told Dorset Councillors of the town's 'unwavering commitment' to Parnham House and its long-term protection.

His passionate speech in full: 

"The significance of Parnham House, both locally and nationally, cannot be overstated. It is not merely a structure of bricks and mortar; it is a landmark of our shared history and a symbol of our collective heritage from the days of Cromwell to the planning of D-Day.

"For centuries, Parnham House and estate has stood as a testament to our past, a custodian of memories, and a guardian of local tradition. 

"Its historical importance transcends the boundaries of our town. Its preservation is not just a matter of local interest but a duty we all owe to future generations of Beaminster and Dorset.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Beaminster Town Council chairman Craig Monks 

"The proposed renovation of the Dower house and in turn Parham House represents more than just a restoration project; it brings new opportunities for Beaminster.

"The prospect of saving and protecting this historical landmark brings with it job creation and economic growth, breathing new life into our community. 

"However, we must acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, but resist further delay to what is important work in restoring these historic buildings. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: CGI image of how the entrance to Parnham will look with  approved Dower HouseCGI image of the now-approved holiday home and Dower House replica

"The recent setbacks and delays in the renovation process have undoubtedly cast a shadow over the applicant’s aspirations.

"Local businesses and our community have felt the impact, experiencing fluctuations in trade and employment as anticipation turned to disappointment. 

"As a town, we now simply find the delays in saving Parnham unacceptable. We want to see these buildings restored in the thorough and considerate way that they demand. But we want to get this restoration done.

"Today, I stand here to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Parnham House and its long-term protection. We must preserve our heritage and secure Parnham and all its estate for all residents of Beaminster."