Historic planning policy advice used to assess farm dwelling restriction removal

Advice within the former planning policy statement 7 relating to sustainable development in rural parts of England which was revoked following the publication of the NPPF in 2012, was used by all parties relating to an appeal involving the removal of an agricultural occupancy condition on a dwelling in Dorset.

The Inspector noted that Annex A to PPS7 set out a justification for such occupancy conditions which included ensuring that such accommodation was maintained to meet the needs of farm workers. In the case of the appeal property which was sold to the appellants in 1999, permission was granted in 2001 for a swimming pool extension and the use of part of it as bed and breakfast accommodation. A second dwelling to serve the farm was granted in 2007 and the bed and breakfast accommodation was allowed to be used as a children’s nursery. In 2009, the farm was sold with the second dwelling and the appeal property retained. The appellants bought another farm in north Wales and the premises had been used as holiday lets in breach of the condition, the Inspector recorded.

The premises were marketed between 2007 and 2010 with a guide price of £1.1m later reduced to 850,000. One offer was received. No other marketing was undertaken, and the Inspector agreed on the basis of two recent valuations by local agents, its overall size, and the absence of any farming land associated with it, that offers from farm workers were unlikely. Even a retired farmer would potentially have difficulty managing a 6-bedroom house with swimming pool and tennis court. He opined. In his opinion the council’s objection to the removal was undermined by the original grant of permission for a large house and then granting permission allowing substantial additions which increased its market value beyond the range of most farm workers. The condition no longer served a useful planning purpose and the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: J Roberts; Hearing

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