A FARMING couple have been given the go-ahead to build a new staff farmhouse on their land following a long running dispute over planning permission.

Tony and Norma White, who run a mixed arable farm at Lanchester, said the development will help them create a more sustainable business, having moved into cattle farming several years ago.

The main dispute centred on ‘whether there was an essential need for the proposed dwelling to accommodate a rural worker’ at Dunleyford Farm on Humberhill Lane.

In previous applications and appeals it had been felt that the ‘essential need’ had not been demonstrated.

A number of concerns were also raised by objectors, including the Lanchester Parish Council, covering site access, disputing the need for the farmhouse and the design and siting of it.

Joe Ridgeon, associate at Hedley Planning Services, based in Hexham, worked with chartered surveyor Adam Barrass to present a detailed supporting case to overcome the concerns.

They resolved the issues with Durham County Council, demonstrating that the business was sustainable and growing, and that there was an essential need.

Joe Ridgeon said that diversification projects can takes years to come to fruition, so other farmers looking to secure planning permission and implement changes should now be considering their options.

He added: “This has been a difficult case, with a history of previous appeal dismissals, so securing planning permission from the council is great news.

“As farming businesses look to plan for future changes to subsidies we expect to see an increase in diversification projects.”

A permanent home is set to replace an existing mobile one, while landscaping improvements will also be a key part of the scheme.

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of development and housing, said: “When new dwellings are proposed in the countryside we need to ensure that the development is essential.

“Following a lengthy process, including appeals, the applicant was able to demonstrate that the business had grown to a point where a permanent home was justified.

“We wish the enterprise every success and look forward to seeing it flourish into a thriving business in the future.”