“Section 106 (S106) planning agreements have been used over the years by local planning authorities to prevent farms being sub divided when they approved agricultural worker dwellings. These agreements often have a significant impact on the flexibility of the management of holdings and the value and saleability of farms. It is, however, possible to modify or remove S106 agreements where they no longer serve a useful purpose,” says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis explains, “best practice on the use of S106 agreements has changed over time. In the past national planning policy and guidance made provision for tying agricultural dwellings to farms. However, current best practice seeks to control the occupancy and use of farm dwellings by means of a planning condition as part of a planning consent and not by the use of separate S106 agreements. Strict legal tests also limit the use of S106 agreements only to cases where it can be demonstrated that they are necessary to make development acceptable in planning terms; are directly related to the development; and are fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. National policy is also clear that S106 agreements should not be used where a planning condition can be used to do the same job.”
“In recent years the issue of the restricted occupancy of agricultural dwellings has been considered by Planning Inspectors in a number of appeal cases. In these cases, the Inspectors have consistently concluded that S106 agreements are not necessary and that the imposition of a planning condition is sufficient. Inspectors have also recognised that the imposition of S106 obligations tying agricultural units would inappropriately affect the value of holdings and the ability of farmers to buy and sell land, and that they would be unreasonably onerous in the running of agricultural businesses,” adds Dinnis.
“The planning acts allow for the voluntary renegotiation of S106 agreements at any time and, where voluntary agreement cannot be reached, to make a formal request to reconsider a S106 agreement when it is more than 5 years old. Farmers and other property owners should be aware that there is therefore an opportunity for them to seek the removal or modification of S106 agreements where they no longer serve a useful purpose” concludes Dinnis.
For further advice or information on the removal of S106 agreements or agricultural occupancy conditions please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at email@example.com. Brian is a Chartered Surveyor and an associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He is always pleased to speak to existing or new clients alike, and he does not charge for having a chat on the telephone.