Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

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Morgan Sweet
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Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by Morgan Sweet » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:07 pm

When you own a property with an AOC certain conditions have to be complied with, it is (I understand) possible to have these conditions lifted and so the AOC no longer applies. Anecdotally a neighbour (who has now died) had a small farm with an AOC where he used to raise calves, this became unprofitable and he was later able to remove the AOC and change the use of the land to an equestrian centre. Many small farms with an AOC could comfortable support a family in the past but these small acreages can no longer realistically do the same now. One of my son's has a similar farm and he has to work full time in order to live and support his family ( his wage from work probably exceeds the profit from the small farm which may already break one of the conditions). My question is, can a AOC be lifted and what is the criteria and correct procedures to follow.

ukmicky
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by ukmicky » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:54 pm

I knew someone who did it . He had to hire a company to put together a report showing why the area local to the house no longer required accommodation for agricultural workers. He also had to put the property up for sale with the AOC to prove that the condition was no longer viable as no one was prepared to buy it.
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pilman
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by pilman » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:09 pm

If someone living in a property that has a AOC on it, and does not fulfill the requirement that they are solely employed in agriculture, after 10 years it is possible to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate based on evidence that there has been a breach of planning control.

I assisted someone a few years back with an application for an LDC based on the husband being employed as a salesman and the wife as a part time teacher.
The 18 acres of land that was part of the farm when it was purchased had been rented out to a local farmer for the last 15 years, so that there was evidence that satisfied the requirement that after 10 years the breach of the agricultural condition could not be enforced against, so that use of the home as a normal dwellinghouse had become lawful.
After receiving the LDC from the local planning authority based on the evidence provided by Statements of Truth from the family members and proof of wages paid by a non-agricultural employer for over 10 years, the value of the property increased by about 100%, so that the cost of paying for an application made by a knowledgeable planning consultant was well worth it.

Is that an alternative that the son in this posting can consider?

ukmicky
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by ukmicky » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:42 am

This is not a material change of use ,its a planning condition and a planning condition is treated differently . The LDC will not remove the planning condition it will only suspend it for as long as the breech continues .

If at anytime the condition is complied with or if there is any break in the breech the condition is re-imposed and as the condition is one to do with occupancy it only take someone to move out for a short period of time for the breech stop.


N Devon DC v FSS and Stokes
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pilman
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by pilman » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:12 pm

Sorry to say that this last post is an incorrect interpretation of the situation confirmed in sections 171A, 171B and 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

A breach of condition cannot be enforced against after 10 years of such a breach being proven.

That is when the "new" use as a private dwellinghouse will be a lawful use under Class C3 of the Use Classes Order.

As stated by ukmicky, "This is not a material change of use ,its a planning condition and a planning condition is treated differently" is correct.
As stated that "The LDC will not remove the planning condition it will only suspend it for as long as the breech continues" has no basis in law because the 10 year period in which enforcement action can be taken when there is a breach of a condition has the same legal effect as when a change of use has existed for more that 10 years.
171A Expressions used in connection with enforcement.

(1)For the purposes of this Act—

(a)carrying out development without the required planning permission; or

(b)failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted,

constitutes a breach of planning control.
171B Time limits.

(1)Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed.

(2)Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the change of use of any building to use as a single dwellinghouse, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date of the breach.

(3)In the case of any other breach of planning control, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of ten years beginning with the date of the breach.

(4)The preceding subsections do not prevent—

(a)the service of a breach of condition notice in respect of any breach of planning control if an enforcement notice in respect of the breach is in effect; or

(b)taking further enforcement action in respect of any breach of planning control if, during the period of four years ending with that action being taken, the local planning authority have taken or purported to take enforcement action in respect of that breach.
191 Certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development.

(1)If any person wishes to ascertain whether—

(a)any existing use of buildings or other land is lawful;

(b)any operations which have been carried out in, on, over or under land are lawful; or

(c)any other matter constituting a failure to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted is lawful,

he may make an application for the purpose to the local planning authority specifying the land and describing the use, operations or other matter.

(2)For the purposes of this Act uses and operations are lawful at any time if—

(a)no enforcement action may then be taken in respect of them (whether because they did not involve development or require planning permission or because the time for enforcement action has expired or for any other reason); and

(b)they do not constitute a contravention of any of the requirements of any enforcement notice then in force.

(3)For the purposes of this Act any matter constituting a failure to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted is lawful at any time if—

(a)the time for taking enforcement action in respect of the failure has then expired; and

(b)it does not constitute a contravention of any of the requirements of any enforcement notice or breach of condition notice then in force.

[F3(3A)In determining for the purposes of this section whether the time for taking enforcement action in respect of a matter has expired, that time is to be taken not to have expired if—

(a)the time for applying for an order under section 171BA(1) (a “planning enforcement order”) in relation to the matter has not expired,

(b)an application has been made for a planning enforcement order in relation to the matter and the application has neither been decided nor been withdrawn, or

(c)a planning enforcement order has been made in relation to the matter, the order has not been rescinded and the enforcement year for the order (whether or not it has begun) has not expired.]

(4)If, on an application under this section, the local planning authority are provided with information satisfying them of the lawfulness at the time of the application of the use, operations or other matter described in the application, or that description as modified by the local planning authority or a description substituted by them, they shall issue a certificate to that effect; and in any other case they shall refuse the application.

(5)A certificate under this section shall—

(a)specify the land to which it relates;

(b)describe the use, operations or other matter in question (in the case of any use falling within one of the classes specified in an order under section 55(2)(f), identifying it by reference to that class);

(c)give the reasons for determining the use, operations or other matter to be lawful; and

(d)specify the date of the application for the certificate.

(6)The lawfulness of any use, operations or other matter for which a certificate is in force under this section shall be conclusively presumed.

(7)A certificate under this section in respect of any use shall also have effect, for the purposes of the following enactments, as if it were a grant of planning permission—

ukmicky
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by ukmicky » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:32 pm

If you could simply apply the law on the face value of the words you would be correct . However the courts often interpret what's been written differently and on this occasion the appeal courts haven't agreed with you.

I don't often say it but you are wrong
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

Morgan Sweet
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by Morgan Sweet » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:54 am

Thank you both pilman and ukmicky for your responses. I do not pretend to understand the technical detail but at least it appears it may be a possibility in the future and I will advise him to seek professional advice in this matter.

May I ask are all AOC the same or is each one individual in their nature?

ukmicky
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by ukmicky » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:57 pm

. If you can get hold of a copy of the local councils Local plan it will most likely have the criteria they require for removing the condition in it somewhere . The chances are it will be on the web so try googling it.

An example policy for Epping is below ,which seems rather tough but there is worse .
REMOVAL OF AGRICULTURAL OCCUPANCY CONDITIONS THE REMOVAL OF AGRICULTURAL OCCUPANCY CONDITIONS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED UNLESS IT HAS BEEN CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED THAT THERE IS NO LONGER A FUNCTIONAL NEED FOR THE DWELLING ON THE HOLDING , AND THERE IS NO LONGER A NEED FOR THIS TYPE OF DWELLING IN THE LOCALITY .


THE DWELLING HAS BEEN MARKETED WITH ITS AGRICULTURAL OCCUPANCY STATUS MADE CLEAR THROUGHOUT (WITH RECORDS OF RESPONSES KEPT) FOR A MINIMUM OF ONE YEAR. THE MARKETING MUST INCLUDE:(a) ‘FOR SALE’ SIGNAGE VISIBLE FROM THE HIGHWAY; AND (b) LOCAL NEWSPAPER ADVERTISING ON A REGULAR BASIS THROUGHOUT THE MARKETING PERIOD ; AND NATIONAL OR REGIONAL ADVERTISING IN SPECIALIST AGRICULTURAL PUBLICATIONS ON A REGULAR BASIS THROUGHOUT THE MARKETING PERIOD ; AND
(d)
THE ASKING PRICE FOR THE DWELLING BEING AT LEAST 40% BELOW ITS GENERAL HOUSING MARKET VALUE.

(iv) A SURVEY OF THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY IS CARRIED OUT TO ASSESS THE EXISTING AGRICULTURAL NEED IN THE LOCALITY FOR THE DWELLING.

5.89a When assessing need within the locality for the dwelling, an 8 km radius around the dwelling will generally be applied. This reflects a reasonable commuting distance for someone employed in agriculture or horticulture, taking into consideration the rural road patterns and the geography of the area. Where suitable, opportunity for rental, sub-division, multiple occupancy, and occupancy that is more intensive should be explored. This is of particular significance in areas close to horticultural glasshouses, where demand for accommodation for seasonal agricultural workers continues to be high.
5.90a For the purposes of completeness when assessing the marketing strategy, it is necessary that a record of expressions of interest in the property be maintained. The eligibility of those interested and able to comply with the agricultural occupancy condition, and their reasons for not pursuing their interest should be clearly presented.
5.91a All advertising should state the extent of any holding associated with the dwelling. The advertising schedule outlined in criterion (iii) of policy 17B is necessary to ensure that all dwellings or holdings are advertised consistently. Additionally it represents a vigorous approach to marketing a site, allowing for seasonal variations in the property market.
Local Plan Alterations - Redeposit July 2005
57
5.92a The level of discount applied to a dwelling to reflect its agricultural occupancy restriction in this area has to be much higher than in less sought after rural locations. A 40% reduction is considered to be appropriate in view of the desirable nature of this district as a Green Belt location close to London for commuters and people who have retired. These demands create very high residential property values in the locality. The discount must also be seen in the context that the property was permitted for the purposes of maintaining a farm business and new AOC dwellings would similarly be considered to be for business purposes. The asking price of an AOC dwelling should therefore not be a great deal over the current average construction cost of a new dwelling, taking into account the relatively low value of agricultural land.
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mr sheen
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by mr sheen » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:09 am

There was a period when many AOC's were removed as inappropriate for an area where further development was becoming the norm and hence work in agriculture was being squeezed out. Many were 'Agricultural bungalows/cottages' for 'farm workers'.

A 'small farm' with an AOC is often a desirable property in a very desirable location/area where development is not normally permitted.

With a trend to 'escape to the country' and the 'River Cottage' culture, a 'small farm' is now a very attractive proposition for many people who are willing to make sacrifices to 'live off it' or 'work in agriculture'. You may get prospective purchasers turning up with business plan in hand to meet the AOC's. Also, farming families are actively seeking 'start ups' for sons/daughters and these would meet the AOCs.

If the 'small farm' no longer meets the needs of your son and he now has other priorities and commitments then he could always just sell it with the AOC with the sort of discount he benefitted from.

Morgan Sweet
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by Morgan Sweet » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:17 am

In my son's situation, it is not that he wishes to sell the property (although that may change in future years), it is that it limits its occupancy to work in agriculture. The largest part of the wage should be from agriculture (AOC) but his circumstances have changed (difficult to make a living off 50 acres of hill land) and his now employed work pays a far greater proportion of his income from this (non agricultural) outside work. (In theory he should no longer be living in the house as his main income is no longer from agriculture.) As I mentioned previously a neighbour of mine was in a similar circumstance in that calf rearing on 30 acres with many large sheds could no longer provide him with an income, he started renting out stables etc. (non agricultural use) and after some 'negotiations' he managed to get the agricultural tie lifted and converted the farm to a livery yard.

mr sheen
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by mr sheen » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:01 pm

Ask your neighbour how he did it. He may tell you or he may become coy and anecdotal. He may just have changed use without negotiating with anyone and just waiting to see what happens.....an option your son also has....sit back and wait and see if anything happens about it.

The clause only becomes an issue if you want to sell.

arborlad
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by arborlad » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:34 pm

mr sheen wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:01 pm


The clause only becomes an issue if you want to sell.


............or rent.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Morgan Sweet
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Re: Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC)

Post by Morgan Sweet » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:56 am

mr sheen wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:01 pm
Ask your neighbour how he did it. He may tell you or he may become coy and anecdotal. He may just have changed use without negotiating with anyone and just waiting to see what happens.....an option your son also has....sit back and wait and see if anything happens about it.

The clause only becomes an issue if you want to sell.
Unfortuneately my neighbour deceased a while ago, all I know is that he did have a problem with the planning department because he was using the covered yards for livery whilst living at the residential house (non agicultural use). He managed to eventually change the use from agricultural occupancy to a livery yard and the AOC tie was removed from the premesis.

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