AN application to create nine homes from former dairy farm buildings at Hinton Mill Farm, Hinton Parva has been approved by Dorset Council – despite concern about the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The application, from the Gaunts Estate, also allows for works to other outbuildings, the demolition of a redundant building and the construction of a new car port.

Seven of the new homes are planned to be 2-bed, the other two, 4-bed.

The Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs area of outstanding beauty objected to the proposals and asked for changes to protect the area from light pollution in view of the 2019 designation of the area as an International Dark Sky Reserve. It asked, specifically, that a number of roof lights be removed, which was agreed in a revised plan.

It also questioned why a master plan had not been produced for the farm site, claiming that further proposals are likely to emerge: “It might be more productive and less costly to establish whether or not a redevelopment of the whole farmyard is acceptable rather than embarking on a piecemeal approach which will inevitably have the potential development of the other part of the farmyard in the background,” said a statement to the council.

Neighbours had also raised concerns about the re-development mentioning extra traffic and flood problems in the area.

One said that despite as ecology report claiming there are no protected species within the proposed development there was evidence of nesting Little owls, and five different species of bats including the Daubenton’s Bat and Pipistrelle Bat which has been identified in a recent ecology report within the immediate area.

The Vale of Allen parish council had also objected claiming that the scheme would double the size of the hamlet, that passing places on the single-track road are limited and more traffic turning onto the B3078 were likely to increase the chance of accidents. It also questioned the density of the proposals and some of the design elements.

Despite the objections a Dorset Council planning officer report, recommending that the scheme be approved said: “The proposal would have an impact on the tranquillity of the AONB as the vehicle movements likely to arise from the 9 new dwellings would be greater than those associated with the agricultural use, but overall it is judged that the proposal would enhance its immediate setting and have no adverse impact on the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB.”