L-R: Joe Ridgeon, Adam Barrass, Tony White and Norma White
L-R: Joe Ridgeon, Adam Barrass, Tony White and Norma White
Richard Bell

Hexham firm helps County Durham farmers win planning dispute after ‘years of wrangling’

Northumberland’s Hedley Planning Services has helped a farm in Lanchester secure permission for a project to transform its business following a lengthy planning dispute.

Farmer Tony White and his wife Norma will now be able to establish a permanent residential dwelling on land at Dunleyford Farm, their mixed arable and cattle enterprise off Humberhill Lane.

The couple plan to build a more sustainable business in the face of changes to EU farming subsidies, which currently support hundreds of farmers around the UK.

After what Hexham-based Hedley described as “years of wrangling”, the firm’s associate Joe Ridgeon was able to steer a planning application for the dwelling to approval.

He worked with Adam Barrass from chartered surveyors Vickers & Barrass to compile a detailed supporting case and overcome concerns raised by both Durham County Council and local objectors.

The permanent home will replace an existing mobile residence along with a series of landscaping improvements.

Joe Ridgeon said: “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.”

Adam Barrass commented: “The Government has guaranteed the same level of subsidy funding through to 2022 and will continue to support the current schemes in the meantime.

“However, looking ahead, it is expected that there will be a new environmental scheme that will offer ‘public money for public goods’.”

He continued: “Although it is likely to be another few years before this scheme will be available, farmers should be looking at their business now to ensure it will be resilient in the face of subsidy reductions.”

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