Agricultural Occupancy Marketing Requirements

A recent case heard in the Upper Tribunal sheds some light, or at least serves as a reminder of the hurdles to be overcome when seeking the discharge of an agricultural occupancy restriction.

In the Matter of an application by (1)Peter Rasbridge (2) Eleanor Rasbridge sub nom Re 2 Cefn Betingau Farm Rhydypandy Road Morriston Swansea SA6 6NX (2012)was an application to lift a restriction imposed in a section 52 Agreement entered into in 1986.

The facts - The wording of the restriction was

"that the occupation of the development shall be limited to persons solely or mainly employed or last employed in agriculture as defined in section 290 Town & Country Planning Act 1971 or a dependent of such a person residing with him or a widow or widower of such a person"

Although in this case the wording was contained in an agreement, it is almost identical to wording recommended in Circular 11/95 and commonly found in planning conditions imposed on permissions.

An application to remove the restriction had been refused by the Council and therefore because it was contained in an agreement, an application was made to the Tribunal under section 84 Law of Property Act 1925 to discharge the restrictive covenant. It was argued that this restriction was now obsolete, the grounds for the application being that since the date of the Section 52 Agreement:

Permission had been granted and the house had been extended to such an extent that it was no longer suitable for agricultural workers accommodation A number of agricultural buildings in the complex had been converted to residential use such that there was no longer any need for this dwelling to provide accommodation for an agricultural worker. The planning policy applicable to such an application required not only that the applicant should demonstrate a lack of need for such accommodation but that "evidence will be required of the property having been offered for sale and to rent with the occupancy condition at a realistic affordable price to the agricultural community and associated agricultural services over an acceptable period of appropriately targeted marketing".

In this case the property was advertised with a 28% discount, in the press 13 times and on 4 different websites. Although the price was further reduced, ultimately to a 39% discount, there was still no interest.

The Tribunal's conclusions. The Tribunal concluded that although the extension of the bungalow may have rendered it unaffordable to low...

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