Surveyors offer tie-breaking solution

Published July 21st, 2010

A Shropshire firm of chartered surveyors has successfully  removed an agricultural occupancy condition  from a property at Lea Cross near Shrewsbury, boosting its market appeal and raising its value by up to 30 per cent.

Agricultural occupancy conditions or agricultural ties were brought in after the second world war to encourage rural housing and keep people working on the land but with the agricultural workforce declining and the needs of farming changing, many of these restrictions are no longer needed.

“An agricultural tie restricts occupation to those employed or most recently employed in agriculture or forestry but it is possible to remove this restriction in certain circumstances,” said Chris Jones of Berrys at Shrewsbury.

“By using our detailed knowledge and experience of the planning system we successfully applied for the agricultural occupancy condition to be removed on a three bedroomed house that was no longer needed for agricultural purposes,” he said.

“This is a massive relief to the owner who will now be able to sell it freely on the open market without any restrictions, resulting in a considerable uplift in market value,” he said.

“Given the scale of change in the farming industry at the moment with businesses restructuring and enterprises being added or lost, it is important for holders of dwellings with agricultural occupancy conditions to review their circumstances.

“Trying to sell a tied property can be difficult as only a few people will meet the conditions and often banks and building societies are reluctant to provide finance.

Removal of agricultural ties is possible by undertaking a successful marketing exercise or if there has been a 10-year breach of the condition. In some instances the conditions imposed are found not to be in accordance with planning regulation.

“It is up to the applicant to prove without doubt that there is no longer a need for an agricultural dwelling both on the holding or in the locality. Preparation of a sound case is essential if you are to succeed in achieving  removal of the tie,” he added.

For an informal discussion regarding the removal of an agricultural occupancy condition Chris Jones can be contacted at Berrys Shrewsbury office on 01743 271697 or email chris.jones@berrybros.com