A plan to convert and extend a redundant piggery into a home for a local family has been approved by a Cornwall Council committee despite its planning department recommending refusal.

Planning officers said the application should be thrown out because it would harm the “intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and scenic beauty of the Cornwall National Landscape and Heritage Coast”.

However, the authority’s west area planning committee believed turning the building into a house would be beneficial for a hamlet near St Just.

Mrs E Williams had applied to convert the piggery on land west of The Byre at Higher Bosavern into a house which would be clad in natural stone with natural slate on the roof, alongside a new garden and brick driveway.

Case officer Diane Boardman said: “The combination of the extension, creation of the garden with domestic paraphernalia and construction of driveway would change the character and appearance of the site from undeveloped open countryside to a more urbanised appearance.

“This would result in a more visually prominent building within the landscape.”

The Cornish National Landscape agreed: “This proposed conversion with its conspicuously changed appearance and uncharacteristic domestic presence … fails to deliver the requirements for such development within the designated landscape.

“As such it fails to conserve and enhance the scenic beauty and landscape character and we object to it on this basis.”

However, local Cornwall councillor Brian Clemens considered the building worthy of conversion and argued the development was sympathetic and in keeping with the local area, and brought it before the committee for a decision.

St Just-in-Penwith Town Council had agreed, unanimously, not to raise any objections to the plan. It stated: “Whilst, technically, it is development in the open countryside … this application did not seem to do any further harm; if anything, the proposed modest increased footprint, granite-faced building, tidies and improves the look of the area.”

Cllr Sally Anne Weedon was concerned it would set a precedent for future development of barns in the Cornish countryside, with Cllr John Keeling agreeing, saying he couldn’t support the proposal as it could lead to “every empty shack in Cornwall” being developed.

Cllr Loveday Jenkin said it was a modest development and if appropriate landscaping was carried out she couldn’t see a problem with the application.

Cllr Mike Thomas believed the look of the new development compared to what’s there now would be a gain for the area.

“I can see the attraction of a dilapidated building – it gives people a sense of time passing – but this is an opportunity for somebody to live in it.”

The application was approved with nine votes for and two against, with a number of conditions attached.