DC Casebook: Agricultural development - Occupancy terms kept despite price fall

An inspector has refused to lift an agricultural occupancy condition attached to a bungalow adjacent to a Dorset farm, finding that it had not been marketed at a reasonable price.

The appellant sought to move into the main farmhouse following his father's death and no longer required the bungalow. The property had been put on the market with an adjoining field in July 2006 at a guide price of £500,000. This was reduced to £485,000 in February 2007. Some interest had been shown, but no sale had resulted.

The inspector agreed that the guide price initially set was not unreasonable for the house and land together. However, she noted that the land formed part of the farm and contained no outbuildings or access other than through the garden of the bungalow. In her view, this would limit its commercial viability but it would remain above the budget of agricultural employees.

The inspector recognised that there was a declining need for agricultural dwellings in the area. Even so, she considered that the appellant's failure to reduce the asking price in line with significant market price reductions in the previous 18 months and continued marketing of the property with land attached unreasonably limited the scope for finding a purchaser who worked or last worked in agriculture in the area.

Inspector: Olivia Spencer; Hearing

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