Lifestyle buyers dreaming of a new life in the country will be able to take advantage of the latest ruling on rural occupation conditions.
Ben Compton from Bruton Knowles’s Gloucester office said laws relating to agricultural occupancy had been fairly rigid – restricted by planning conditions limiting occupation to those employed or last employed in agriculture – plus their families
But a new ruling by the Planning Court and Court of Appeal has opened the door to more families eager to enjoy the country life.
“While old barns can be converted to new houses without planning permission, houses were subject to much more rigid occupancy conditions.”
In Shortt V Secretary of State the house was subject to a planning condition which meant it could only be occupied by people employed or last employed solely or mainly in agriculture.
“The house was occupied by a family where the wife was solely employed in agriculture, but this activity only took up one day a week of her time and had never made a profit. It was questioned whether the family’s occupation of the property complied with the agricultural occupancy condition."
“The courts decided the family had complied with the agricultural occupancy condition – which opens up lawful occupancy of homes with agricultural ties to a much wider range of people.”
Ben Compton went on: “The Court of Appeal has established that one person working one day per week and not making a profit meets the requirements of being ‘employed in agriculture.’
“This would apply particularly to the lifestyle buyers where one member of the family might run a small agricultural business as a hobby or sideline.
“This could increase demand for agricultural tied properties from wider – and different sections of the community.”