A family could find themselves homeless after councillors refused planning permission for a new home.

Katie Bolton and her six daughters face the threat of enforcement action over their current home in Metherell, near Callington.

Ms Bolton broke down as she explained to Cornwall Council’s east sub-area planning committee why she needed planning permission to build a new family home at the site.

She had applied for outline planning permission for the new home which she said would be for herself and her daughters.

The committee heard that the family was currently living in a corrugated shed and a caravan on the site, but did not have permission to live there.

As a result the council was currently in the process of taking enforcement action against Ms Bolton which was currently at appeal stage.

Ms Bolton explained to the committee that she had moved from her home in Plymouth to the site in February 2019.

She said that she and her daughters live in stable buildings on the site which include kitchen, bathroom and living facilities.

Ms Bolton said that since moving to the site her family’s lives had improved and her daughters had settled in to local schools and made friends.

While her eldest daughter was currently studying at university in Wales the rest of the family remained living at the site.

She said that she moved away from the city to give her children a better quality of life and said that they grow their own fruit and vegetables on the site as well as having some animals including sheep, chickens, cats and dogs.

Ms Bolton said: “I have applied for planning permission to build a new family home. It will be well designed and remove the mix of buildings on the site.

“I know I have made a mistake moving straight onto the land and I am sorry for causing concern.

“The enforcement might now mean me and my daughters lose our home.”

She added: “I am looking for the opportunity to make things right and make this a family home.”

Ms Bolton said that she had been told by the previous owner of the site that he had lived in the building for around a year and a half.

However, planning officers told councillors that this was also without planning permission.

They explained that the only planning permission in place was for washing and toilet facilities in the shed building for use by those tending to polytunnels on the site.

Planning officers recommended that the application should be refused saying that it was unsuitable development in open countryside, stating that the land was designated for agricultural use and was not previously developed.

Local Cornwall councillor Jim Flashman urged councillors to approve the plans, explaining that the shed was beyond repair and should be replaced.

He said: “It seems sensible to remove the buildings and paraphernalia and build a house for the family.

“Another move for the family would be a complete upset, especially considering the times we are having at the moment.”

Committee chairman Chris Batters said that all councillors would sympathise with Ms Bolton’s situation but said that they had to consider applications in line with planning policy.

Barry Jordan proposed that the application be refused saying: “I listened to what the lady said very carefully. While I feel very, very sorry for the lady we have to go along with the officers’ recommendation.”

John Fitter agreed, adding: “It is a tragic case – if we were allowed to determine applications on compassionate grounds we would support this lady. But we are here to determine applications on policy. This application cannot be approved as it stands.”

A number of other councillors also expressed their sympathy for Ms Bolton but said they had no choice but to consider the application on planning grounds.

The proposal to refuse planning permission was agreed unanimously by the committee.