A farmer has been refused planning permission to build two bungalows on his land which he says are “massively important” to keep the farm going.

Martin Wallis had applied to Cornwall Council to build the two homes on his land at Treza Farm in Porthleven.

Planning officers had recommended that the application be refused, saying that the site was not a sustainable location for a new housing development.

And the council’s west sub-area planning committee agreed and refused permission when they met on Monday morning (October 19).

Mr Wallis told councillors that he already had some properties at the farm that he rents out to local families.

He explained that he was a second generation farmer at Treza Farm and that his family had owned the farm since 1974.

The farmer said that he does a mix of arable and dairy farming and said that dairy farming was “difficult” at present.

But he said that he wanted to buck the trend and said that the proposed bungalows would help to do that.

He said: “We have obtained ownership of all the properties and let them out to local families at what I believe is below market rent.”

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Mr Wallis said that he had a good relationship with tenants and had kept in contact with previous tenants when they have moved on.

He explained that the planned new bungalows would be rented out in a similar way and said that he was not looking to build more homes.

He added: “The retained income that we receive will be massively important to us to maintain the core business of our farm.”

Porthleven Town Council had supported the application, as had local Cornwall councillor Andrew Wallis – no relation to the applicant.

He said: “Farming is a very difficult business. Martin has diversified well with arable farming and he is one of the last dairy herders in the area. Dairy farming is a very difficult business to be in.”

Cllr Wallis added: “We should be looking to support the farming industry in diversification.”

Committee member Joyce Duffin recognised the difficulty for farmers to diversify but said that the council had to stick to its planning principles.

She said: “It is a really difficult application, you can understand why people are trying to diversify and help their business.

“But we are policy led at the council and the buildings that have already been converted have been.

“Other members will have areas that are outside settlements on farms that would like to build houses as well. We have policies for a reason – once you go against them you open up for other people to do the same thing.

“We are trying to protect our countryside and have building in more urban areas or settlements for a reason.”

She proposed that the application be refused in line with the officers’ recommendation.

The committee voted 11-3 in favour of refusal.