A owner of a farm can keep a barn for storing straw and hay after winning a planning appeal.

Robert Wilson, who owns Highfield Farm, Midgham Road, Fordingbridge, was told by planners that because he doesn’t produce enough of the bales locally the barn must be taken down.

Mr Wilson was granted retrospective planning permission for a DIY livery business to run alongside agricultural activities at the farm, including grazing livestock, growing hay and baling straw.

But planners at New Forest District Council said not enough of the farm is used for that purpose so his rebuilding of a barn on the site, which had been destroyed in a storm in 2007, would not be allowed under permitted development rules. They also felt the siting of the barn was inappropriate.

Mr Wilson said if the barn had to go it would render almost any agricultural activity at the farm unviable.

Planning inspector Sara Morgan agreed, saying the barn would fit in well in the landscape despite being higher and bigger than the previous one and would support Mr Wilson’s business.