Parnham House as an events venue
Parnham House is a historic mansion set in parkland on the south side of Beaminster. A Grade 1 building of high distinction, it has for centuries been a major feature in the life of the town. In 2017, the community was deeply shocked when the mansion was destroyed by fire. Since then, the shell of the building has been standing desolate. The townspeople were therefore pleased last year when James Perkíns bought the Parnham estate, with the stated intention to restore the mansion and use it as hotel, which would add to the town’s attractions and create jobs. Recently, he announced his wish to use the estate as an event venue, with varied entertainment, including plays, films, sporting events, live music and festival-type activity, both indoors and outdoors. These activities would be served by a complex of new buildings, including shop, restaurant and pub. For this purpose, he has applied to Dorset Council for an entertainments licence.
Local residents have variably welcomed the prospect of these activities, and expressed concern about their potential impacts in terms of noise, lights, traffic and disturbance. Beaminster Area ECO Group (a Dorset CAN member) has submitted – after much local consultation – a response to the licence application. It welcomes the principle of an events venue, but points to concerns related to public safety, possible public disorder, and the need to prevent public nuisance. It stresses the quiet rural character of the area, the limited capacity of local roads and of the local sewage system. It therefore asks for clear conditions on the licence which would secure limits to the total number of participants at outdoor events, moderate the levels of noise and limit the hours of late-night activity.