COUNCILLORS have gone against officers and approved plans for a new home at a farm.

Durham County Council's northern area planning committee was recommended to reject the development planned at North View Farm, Esh Hilltop, near Langley Park.

The committee heard that the Ayre family wanted to build an "environmentally responsible", low carbon home on land at the family farm.

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But planning officials said the self-build development was not sustainable and breached national and local planning policies. Planning officer Fiona Clarke said the site, near the Board Inn, was at the top of a steep hill leading to Langley Park.

She said it was likely that more car journeys would be made as a result.

And she told the committee that although there were other homes nearby, the area was not officially designated a settlement in planning blueprints.

But councillors spoke for the development, Joe Armstrong saying that a nearby bus stop was used by services to Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle.

Coun Owen Temple said he had been pre-disposed to support the recommendation but had changed his mind after a site visit.

"It doesn't encroach on the countryside. It is totally within the garden."

Coun Ian Jewell said he considered the scheme to be in-fill development in an established settlement.

Committee chairman Carl Marshall said the committee had voiced the view that the planned home was sustainable and would not encroach on the countryside.