A MEON Valley country estate has been faced with nearly 100 objections after seeking permission to expand its operations.

Each year, the owners of Holywell Estate in Swanmore apply for temporary licensing to host events across 21 days.

But a recent submission to Winchester City Council licensing panel asking for permanent permission across 28 days has caused controversy.

A statement from the council revealed that up until April 30, the application had received 96 objections.

Owner, Lady Clarendon claims the opposition has been caused by “the whole process of applying for new licensing being unclear”, and that she is only looking for “a small difference.”

She said: “The new permissions are just to cover ourselves, so if we want to put on more events, we can, and it’s better than having to apply for temporary permission every year.

“We are often approached by people wanting to put on different things, like a big screening of a film.

“We already host a wide range of activities, so having that flexibility would be ideal, although we have nothing specific in mind just yet.”

Lady Clarendon added: “Because it is hard to make yourself clear through the process of applying, I think people have drummed up what it would mean, and that has ultimately led to other people jumping to the wrong conclusions.”

If approved, the new licence will authorise an attendance of up to 3,000 people on one of the days, and a maximum of 500 people for the remaining 27.

Lady Clarendon said she has been working to reassure local residents.

She added: “Sadly, it’s not as exciting as everyone may think. We don’t want to turn into a huge event venue, we just want to keep doing our thing on a small scale.

“There’s even been rumours that we could be taking on the Wickham Festival, which are certainly not true! I’m currently writing a letter which I hope will clear everything up with the locals.”