Dorset council refuses beach hut plan in top landscape

A Dorset council has refused plans for 45 beach huts in an area of outstanding natural beauty and the setting of a world heritage site after planners concluded that the scheme would cause 'significant harm' to the landscape.

A visualisation of the proposed development
A visualisation of the proposed development

Purbeck District Council refused a planning application for the development earlier this week. The full planning application sought consent for 45 beach huts stacked over four levels on a 2,200 square metre site on the northern edge of Swanage.

According to a planning report, the site is located outside the defined settlement boundary of Swanage, is within the Dorset area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and the Purbeck Ridge East site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It is also within the setting of the Jurassic Coast world heritage site (WHS).

The report, which recommended refusal, said that planners considered that the beach huts, "by virtue of their overall scale, form and location, would cause significant harm to the landscape character and amenity of this part of the Dorset AONB and the setting of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site".

The report also said that the development would add "an unnatural landscape feature and extend the built form along the coast", resulting in "demonstrable harm to the distinctive landscape qualities of the locality".

As such, the report said, the development would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and policies in the council’s local plan.

"It is considered that the environmental harm caused by the adverse impact on the character and amenity of the area outweighs any social or economic benefits of the proposal", the report concluded.

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