Agricultural occupancy condition breach fails to justify its removal

An inspector refused to delete a condition imposed on a planning permission for a farmhouse in Somerset, which restricted its occupation to an agricultural worker, despite the property having been occupied by a non-farmer for 20 years.

The appellant provided a statutory declaration confirming that between 1997 and 2017 the property had been occupied by a person who did not comply with its requirements. The council did not dispute this but had refused to issue a LDC because the breach had come to an end in 2017 and since that time the property had been vacant. On this basis the council stated that since the breach had ceased the original condition remained relevant and necessary to control unrestricted residential use in the countryside.

The inspector agreed concluding that no alternative lawful use other than as an agricultural worker’s dwelling, existed. The condition remained relevant and could be enforced should another occupier inhabit the dwelling contrary to its terms. The fact that the breach of control had existed for more than 10 years did not prevent the condition from taking effect given that the breach had ceased. The appeal was dismissed.

Inspector: Martin Chandler; Written representations

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