A PLANNING expert has helped a couple win the right to build a new home on their own land following a three-and-a-half-year battle.

Steve Barker, managing director of Prism Planning, persuaded councillors in Ryedale that the converted barn-style home was a significant improvement on the modern workshop that would be demolished to make way for the new house.

Members went against the advice of their own officers to vote 10 to one in favour of the scheme in Slingsby.

It had brought to an end a battle by Dave Farrow and his wife Belinda, who had sold their former home and invested in the plot of land, which contained stables and the commercial workshop.

Their plan to knock down the workshop and build a new, single-storey family home was scuppered twice by the council in the last four years even though the couple worked with the council on their plans prior to the second application for permission.

They appealed, and lost, twice, and then turned to Mr Barker.

Mr Barker said: “This was very much a victory for common sense. Following a site visit, the members had little doubt that we had put a great deal of thought into our proposals and had worked through all the previous difficulties.

“Trying to come up with an acceptable scheme after two previous appeal decisions was never going to be an easy task, but we managed to get there in the end.

“The Farrows had despaired of ever managing to get a house approved on the site so naturally they are delighted with the result.”

The couple had faced strong opposition from residents to the development. In response, they offered local people the chance to have a say in the design and hosted a public consultation event before the latest set of plans went before the council.

Prism Planning also worked with local designer Peter Rayment and Stuart Anderson, of Rogue Pixels Design Studio, who produced an accurate computer generated image of the proposed house viewed from the street.

Mrs Farrow said: “It has been a terribly traumatic experience and we’ve had this cloud hanging over our heads for the last three-and-a- half years.

“We knew the property was in a conservation area and we knew getting permission wouldn’t be straightforward, but I wouldn’t want any other family to go through what we’ve been through.

“It was only through Steve knowing the planning rules so well that we were successful. He highlighted the fact that our obligation was to preserve or enhance the site, not both.”

Mrs Farrow added: “We’d like to thank the residents who did support us, and the members of the planning committee who took the time to visit the site and see it for themselves, rather than simply following the officers’ recommendation.”