Removal of Agricultural Occupancy Conditions

As professionals working in the agricultural sector we all come across property that has an Agricultural Occupancy Restriction. Such restrictions are a condition of planning consent and the usual wording of such a condition is:

“The occupation of the dwelling shall be limited to a person solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependents.”

At Rostons we have been successful at lifting Agricultural Occupancy Conditions and increasing the value of properties accordingly.

There are two ways in which an occupancy condition can be lifted:

1. Full Planning Application – Assessment of the existing need

The existing need of the holding itself, as well as the local area, will need to be undertaken. Firstly, it needs to be established that there is no existing need for the tied dwelling on the holding at the time of the application or anytime in the future.

Secondly, the need in the local area needs to be established. This is done by marketing the property for sale at a reduce value to take into account the Agricultural Occupancy Restriction for a reasonable amount of time (usually 12 months). Provided that there is no firm interest from anyone who would comply with the condition, an application can be submitted, with all supporting information, to request the Agricultural Restriction is lifted on the basis that there is no need on the holding or in the locality.

This is not a simple or quick process but Rostons have been successful in removing Agricultural Occupancy Restrictions via this route.

2. Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) Application – 10-year continual breach of condition

A lawful development certificate application can be progressed to suspend the agricultural occupancy restriction but there must have been a continual 10-year breach of the condition without any breaks.

This application is far simpler. Local Planning Authorities request sworn statements from the applicants and other third parties as evidence to prove that there has been a continual breach of 10 years, along with other evidence such as council tax receipts, employment history of occupant(s), etc.

It is important to note that an LDC merely suspends the Agricultural Occupancy Condition and if someone in the future were to reside in the property who met the condition the suspension would be lifted and would then apply again. Rostons have been successful very recently in removing Agricultural Occupancy Restrictions in this manner.

If you require assistance with this matter, please contact a member from the Rostons team who would be happy to help.