CIVIC chiefs have given permission for a Meon Valley country estate to expand its operations – despite the application receiving nearly 100 objections.

The owners of the Holywell Estate in Swanmore, Lord and Lady Clarendon, submitted the application to Winchester City Council last month, which was approved at a sub committee meeting on June 6.

Each year, they had been applying for temporary licensing to put on events across 21 days.

Now they have a permanent licence to host across 28 days, allowing an attendance of up to 3,000 people on one of the occasions, and a maximum of 500 people for the remaining 27.

Lord Clarendon said at the committee: "This is not a change on what we wish to host, but it is more about the flexibility.

"We have hosted so many events in the past few years, all of which haven't caused any problems, and we are always well organised. This is our family home, so we always keep a close eye on what happens.

"The idea of us adopting a large festival is one that people have jumped on the band wagon with – it's all about the flexibility and not having to use temporary permission any longer."

Most of the 96 objections submitted to the council focussed on the noise that would be generated, with others questioning the environmental impacts.

Two of the objectors attended the meeting.

Professor Richard Lampitt, on behalf of Susan Lampitt of Liberty Road, Newtown, said: "As an environmental scientist, I spend all of my time examining the impact human beings have on the environment.

"After looking at the application, these things clearly do not support the national park objectives. It seems like an attack on the national park."

However, the committee were told the South Downs National Park Authority had acted as a consultant for the application and had no objections.

Leon Maschner, of Kingsmead, Wickham, also addressed the committee: "I object on the grounds of public nuisance, because of the noise. People want to sit in their gardens and walk along the country lanes and enjoy the tranquility."

Licensing officer, Briony Appletree, then said the city council had only received four noise complaints concerning Holywell House in the last 10 years.

All were related to the sound of gun shots.

Following a 15-minute decision break, chairman Cllr Fiona Mather declared that Cllr Derek Green, Cllr Brian Laming and herself had decided to grant permission.