Byline: By Robin Atkin
Local planning authorities will occasionally seek to restrict the occupancy of a development to a particular class of occupier when they consider it necessary.
A common example of this is the agricultural occupancy condition. These conditions are imposed on planning permissions by local authorities where it is necessary for residential property to be built to accommodate agricultural workers.
These conditions are imposed notwithstanding the strict controls on residential development in the open countryside. As planning permission runs with the land, the local authority will want to ensure that the property is kept available to meet agricultural needs and to ensure there is not a proliferation of non-agricultural residential development in the open countryside.
A proliferation of residential development on agricultural land would be contrary to established planning policy under normal circumstances.
Once an agricultural occupancy condition has been imposed, it is difficult to remove it unless it can be shown, among other things, that the need for agricultural workers in the vicinity no longer warrants the reservation of a house for that need. This test is often very difficult to overcome.
If an agricultural occupancy condition has been breached for a period of 10 years, however, it may also be possible to apply for a lawful development certificate (LDC) which, if obtained, has the effect of making the breach immune from enforcement action. …