A GLAMPING site could be created after the owners of a water buffalo farm applied to change the use of a walled garden in an attempt to boost business, which has been affected partly by a reduction in meat consumption

An application has been submitted to Test Valley Borough Council asking for permission to create tourist accommodation including a yurt, shepherds hut and other amenities at Manor Farm, in Broughton.

The proposed site would open from March to October, used for short-term stays, with the yurt able to accommodate up to six people and the shepherds hut up to four, making them suitable for families or small groups.

Guests would be asked to park in a field behind a barn and walk to the proposed accommodation, which would not be accessible to cars.

The application said: “Improving and creating a more diverse income stream for the farm is crucial to its long-term survival.”

It added the farm, Broughton Water Buffalo, operates “environmentally sensitive farming practices” making non-farming income important, partly because of the constraints imposed along the Wallop Brook, where modern farming practices are not possible because of the environment.

A statement from the owners of the farm, who have been farming and selling natural reared buffalo meat for 17 years, said: “The principal source of revenue for the business has been through the sale of grass-fed buffalo meat. The economic challenges of small-scale local production have been significant, and it is clear that the precarious political situation and the emerging (and necessary) trends in reducing meat consumption are only going to increase financial pressure on the business.

“Non-farming income is essential to remain viable and enable the continuation of low input, nature-first farming operation that delivers good quality food for local people, works with the local community and brings great environmental benefit.”

The owners, who host numerous events at the farm for schools, community groups and the public to spread the word about alternative farming, work closely with Hampshire Fare and Hampshire Farmers’ Markets to promote quality local produce, and have set up Wallop Brook Farmers, made up of 20 farmers working together to improve water quality and soils, and enhance wildlife habitat.

The farm also works with Sparsholt College and the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester.

The owners said they hope that the proposed holiday accommodation will be “beneficial to local tourism and businesses”.

The application states that full occupancy of both units would likely result in just two cars at the site, with the possibility of four as an “absolute worst case”.

It added: “Part of the business plan is to attract walkers and cyclists using the Clarendon Way, and this site is at the midpoint. In these terms it is well suited to accommodating walkers and cyclists who clearly will not arrive by car.”