AN appeal has been lodged over Dorset Council’s refusal to allow outbuildings in Upwey to be converted into a three-bed home.

The owners of Damyons Mead had asked the council to be allowed to make the changes to a former stables in Church Street. They said the new home would have Purbeck stone and timber boarding on the walls and a slate roof with hardwood windows and doors, with the plot having parking for two cars. Drawings showed a combined living, kitchen and dining area on the ground floor and three bedrooms on the upper floor.

But council officers said the site is outside the defined development boundary for the area and within the Upwey Conservation Area, within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and also within a flood zone.

The council’s conservation officer said that the proposal would result in a distinct change in the pattern of development and would be ‘harmful’ to the conservation area. The report said it was not considered a conversion, but a re-build. Weymouth Town Council and Weymouth Civic Society also objected to the proposal and three letters were submitted which were against the plans. Among the comments was that it would set a precedent for further development in the area and directly overlook a neighbouring property.

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An officer report said: “The proposed development would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Upwey Conservation Area and would cause ‘less than substantial’ harm to its significance as a designated asset.”

An agent for the applicants say that permission was given, several years ago, to demolish the main building on the site and greenhouses in the centre of the plot and replace them with a new residential unit and garages which could have been used independently of the main house. The letter giving grounds for appeal cites this previous approval and  also contests claims about ‘harm’ to the AoNB saying that the building proposed for conversion is falling into disrepair but, if converted to a modern use, would ‘conserve and enhance’ local views. Claims about flood risk are also refuted.