A LAND sales company has hit back at a BBC investigation which claimed it had lured investors into spending thousands of pounds on plots of worthless land in North Dorset.

The TV programme alleged "landbanking" firm Commercial Land convinced buyers to snap up 5,000 plots it is marketing at a four-acre site near the hamlet of King's Stag, near Sturminster Newton.

BBC South's Inside Out series alleged Commercial Land, formally London European Land Sales Partnership, based in London, told investors they could apply for planning permission and sell their plots to developers for huge profits.

But North Dorset District Council has revealed that there is "no chance" of anyone successfully applying for planning permission at the site, which it claims has no development potential.

Now Commercial Land, which has kept 50 per cent of the site for itself, has responded, claiming its clients are well aware there is a risk the site may never get planning permission.

But it added that it has carefully researched the housing market in North Dorset and the site outside King's Stag and will be lobbying for its inclusion in North Dorset's Local Development Framework consultation document in 2008, which it claims would make the land extremely attractive to developers.

Partner in Commercial Land Stephen Cleeve, said: "Our clients are intelligent people and are well aware of the risks.

"We have found a great piece of land on the edge of a village, with good access and no covenants on the basis that in the next five to 10 years things will change. Some land will be re-zoned, it's just a question of whether it's ours or someone else's."

North Dorset District Council's development control manager Nick Fagan told the Daily Echo that there was no chance of the site winning planning permission, not least because the area has a housing surplus.

"Unfortunately landbanking appears to be growing increasingly common," he said.