Q&A Is it possible to get an Agricultural Occupancy Condition removed?

Q:      My wife and I moved into a cottage on my father’s farm when we got married. My mother died a few years ago and at that point we moved into the big farmhouse and my dad moved into the cottage. Last September my father sadly contracted coronavirus and died. I was the sole beneficiary of his estate. As we have no further need for the cottage and want to raise some capital to diversify the business, we have been thinking about modernizing, extending and selling the cottage. How would we go about getting the Agricultural Occupancy Condition removed to maximise its value?

A:       You would need to apply to your local planning authority to have the Condition removed. But before they would consider removing it you would need to demonstrate that there is no current or future need for the property as an agricultural dwelling. To fulfill your plans, you would also need to obtain a certificate of lawful development.

Demonstrating that the property is no longer required for agricultural use involves far more than you just proving you do not need it for your own current family use. You would have to show that you have marketed the property for sale or rent to agricultural workers in your area, for a considerable length of time. And with the Agricultural Occupancy Condition still applicable, the rental or selling price would of course be considerably less than the open market value.

Whilst the procedural guidance on planning appeals relating to the removal of Agricultural Occupancy Condition was updated in 2016, there is still a minefield of hoops to get through, so you should seek specialist advice from a solicitor with experience in the agricultural sector before formulating any diversification plans you have for the farm business or associated buildings.

This question has been answered by Richard Lloyd, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Richard Lloyd

Richard Lloyd


Our Senior Partner and Head of the Property team in Oswestry