Do you own a property which is subject to an agricultural occupancy condition? Are you looking at getting it removed (or modified)?
In order to do this you will need to apply to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine that the condition is no longer deemed necessary. If that is refused, then the matter can be taken to appeal for decision by a planning inspector.
The process is often a difficult one because LPAs must be persuaded that the dwelling, which was probably only given planning consent on the grounds that it was required for an agricultural worker, is genuinely no longer required for that purpose. Further, the wording of the most modern occupancy conditions is such that the issue has to be proven for the locality generally and not just in relation to the particular farm in question.
An agricultural occupancy condition can be “lifted” in one of two ways:
(1) By applying for the removal of the occupancy condition. If successful, the condition will be removed from the planning consent and the property is then unburdened.
(2) If the property can be shown to have been occupied in breach of the condition for ten years, then the application can be made for a Certificate Of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development
When applying for the removal of the condition, as set out under (1) above, LPAs will expect to see detailed evidence to support an application for the lifting the restriction.
The most difficult issue to address is how to respond to the common insistence by the LPA that there is a lack of demand for that type of accommodation from those employed or last employed in agriculture. The real test here should be that of whether there is a need for an agricultural occupancy condition on that dwelling (in its locality) and not of demand for it. Marketing can only test demand, not need.
The common traditional approach required by LPAs has been to test the market for potential occupiers by offering the property for sale or to let with marketing over an agreed period with appropriate advertising, often on a basis agreed in advance with the LPA.
Alongside the required marketing effort, it will usually be expected that he property must be offered at a discounted price to reflect the condition.
Other evidence which might help to demonstrate a lack of demand (or indeed need) for agricultural workers’ dwellings in the area might include:
For further information and advice on the above please contact Peter Wain, Managing Director.Contact Us