Pembrokeshire planners have said they are open to working with a farmer recently refused permission for a farm barn attraction, which has gained a 2,600-strong petition of support.

Stuart Williams of Home Farm, Leweston, near Camrose, was recently refused retrospective permission to retain the Willhome Farm Barn farm park – and ancillary buildings – built in June 2022.

The site – whose facilities were used by council educational providers – is home to rabbits, llamas, donkeys, poultry, owls, goats, ponies and pigs, along with a café building, public conveniences, a children’s play area, and parking.

A supporting statement by agent Aled Thomas Planning Design Ltd said the diversification had taken place in 2022 after the Williams family had to lose their entire milking/dairy and beef herd due to a severe outbreak of Bovine TB on their farm, with regular visits from educational groups in the school term, and had “a massive impact on the lives of every pupil who attends”.

The application was refused under delegated powers due to highway safety concerns and fears it would generate additional foul water flows which are likely to result in an increase in phosphate levels in the Cleddau River.

Since the refusal by planners, a petition, Grant Planning Permission for Willhome Farm Barn in Pembrokeshire, was set up by Hook-based Jessica Austin, which has attracted more than 2,600 signatures to date.

Jessica’s petition said: “This decision not only affects this resilient family but also impacts schools attended with over 6,000 pupils, by adults from local wellbeing centres and families with children who have autism or learning difficulties like mine.

“It’s important to note that there are no apparent issues with existing amenities. Roads or waterways. The refusal of planning permission seems unjustified and is causing unnecessary distress within our community.”

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The planning application was refused for two reasons relating to highway impact and Phosphate generation.

“The first reason relates to concern expressed by the Highway Authority in relation to the traffic generated by the proposal having a significant impact on traffic flow in the locality and, due to the limited capacity of the existing network, adversely affecting highway safety.

“The second reason is based on a lack of information to demonstrate that the development is not generating additional Phosphate discharging to the River Cleddau Special Area for Conservation/Site of Special Scientific Interest (SAC/SSSI).

“Planning officers remain open to dialogue with both our Highways colleagues and the applicant and will continue to assist the applicant, where they can, in their efforts to overcome the reasons for refusal.”