THE operator of a pick-your-own-fruit farm is enjoying the sweet taste of success after being told he can keep his temporary home.

Although Raymond Emmerton built a log cabin at Brockwell Farm, near Lanchester, believing that planning permission was not required, Durham County Council disagreed and ordered that it be removed.

However, following an appeal a planning inspector has ruled the cabin can stay temporarily.

Steve Barker of Prism Planning, who acted for Mr Emmerton during the appeal, said common sense and humanity had shown through.

Mr Emmerton built the cabin, a two-bedroom chalet-style wooden building, as a home for him and his partner while his ageing parents, who built up the strawberry and fruit picking business, still live in the main dwelling on the site, a bungalow.

In his report, the planning inspector found the cabin caused visual harm to the character and appearance of the countryside but emphasised the need to consider the family circumstances.

“With these factors it appears to me that this is a case where the family farm is passing between the generations.

“The personal circumstances over a temporary period justify some sort of temporary housing to accommodate the overlap,” he wrote.

Mr Barker said: “This wasn’t a simple case of unauthorised development on farmland.

“Mr Emmerton was simply trying to ensure his parents could live out their days in their home at the bungalow on the farmland, while he and his partner could live close by and still be able to continue working Brockwell Farm to ensure the sustainability of the business.

“We... welcome the opportunity for common sense and humanity to show through – despite the worry and stress it has caused for Mr Emmerton and his elderly parents.

“This is a great outcome for Mr Emmerton and it continues a long run of successful planning appeals for Prism Planning.”

Brockwell Farm opened in 1992, run by Jonathan and Dotty Benson.