THE new owner of a 16th-century mansion has said he wants to create a place that everyone can enjoy – and it won’t be a rave mansion – after a controversial liquor and entertainment license from 24 hours was granted for the premises.
Parnham House, near Beaminster, was granted the permit after a two-day meeting and three-day decision-making process.
The app sparked nearly 100 objections from residents worried about noise and disturbance.
In addition to a 24-hour liquor license, the establishment license application includes music and dance performances, recorded music, indoor sporting events – including boxing or wrestling – and plays.
Owner James Perkins plans to use the Grade I listed stately home as a venue for wedding and other small-scale events, as well as to accommodate up to 100 people at a time. The Parnham House team anticipates that at least 60 new jobs will be created in the area once the estate is fully operational.
Planning requests for the restoration of the building should be submitted in the coming months.
Considering the amount of work to be done before the project is fully operational, Parnham House will be reopened in stages. If all goes according to plan, Perkins hopes to be able to welcome guests as early as next summer.
Mr Perkins having previously run rave scene promoter Fantazia, local residents feared Parnham House could be turned into a “party mansion” – and Mr Perkins and his team tried to allay those fears and convince audiences that this is not the direction in which they intend to go.
Mr Perkins said: “The goal is to provide a fantastic sanctuary and vacation for people who want to enjoy the area. We want to give people the chance to experience what the people of Beaminster see every day.
“We’re not going to have 500 people having house parties every night. Once everything is up and running with accommodation, it will be around 100 people at its peak.
“We have fallen in love with Dorset and are looking forward to doing something that everyone will enjoy, and we will be happy to have each other as neighbors.”
The property suffered catastrophic fire damage in a suspicious fire in April 2017, and the new owners say the revenue that will be generated from this license will help redevelop the estate and pay for the renovations.
Former Parnham owner Michael Treichl was questioned by police about the fire and was found dead in Geneva two months later in an alleged suicide.
The Dorset Council licensing subcommittee met to determine whether or not to grant the license. Due to the large number of residents eager to raise issues, described as “unprecedented”, the meeting lasted two days.
Residents who lived near the mansion were concerned about the wide variety of events covered by the permit and feared that if a permit was granted there would frequently be large events attended by significant numbers of people. Neighbors were also worried about the risk of noise and nuisance resulting from these events.
During the meeting, the two representatives present for Parnham House, the proposed Designated Premises Supervisor, Nick Caton, and lawyer Sarah Le Fevre, answered questions from residents.
Representing Mr Perkins, the two attempted to allay residents’ fears, explaining to those in attendance that despite the license application, Parnham House would not be used for large late-night musical events, but rather for small events. for residential guests, weddings and occasional major events, such as the Dorset Food Fair.
Mr Perkins said: “I have a young family like Nick and we don’t want parties here every night. We try to attract families and we want to be aware of the noise.
“We want to work with our neighbors and we don’t want any inconvenience.
“We want to make Parnham House one of the tallest buildings in the area once again.”