Unintended consequences

Unintended consequences

“A recent case provides an important reminder of the significance of unintended consequences that can arise from the use by Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) of occupancy and other restrictive planning conditions”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

A farming client, with an established business, including an existing period farmhouse and a range of buildings, has a need for an additional dwelling and instructed us to apply for planning permission. The LPA granted planning permission for the new dwelling, subject to an agricultural occupancy condition which, in respect of the new dwelling was expected and accepted as appropriate, and in accordance with the “six tests” that apply to the use of planning conditions which is that they should be necessary; relevant to planning; relevant to the development to be permitted; enforceable; precise; and reasonable in all other respects.

However, in addition to imposing an occupancy condition on the new dwelling, the LPA also imposed an occupancy condition on the existing farmhouse. The occupancy condition on the existing farmhouse will therefore take effect as soon as the work on the new dwelling commences.

“In common with many businesses, our client has a mortgage, and the mortgage deed includes the usual provisions that no alteration to or development of the property shall be carried out without the lender’s prior consent. In view of this, our client consulted with the lender and obtained valuation advice to establish what the impact on value would be if the planning permission for the new dwelling were implemented”, says Sanders.

“The valuer concluded that, although the build costs of the new dwelling would be partly offset by the additional value added by the new dwelling, the impact of attaching an occupancy condition to the existing farmhouse would de-value it by around £300,000. Faced with that advice, the lender has refused to consent to the development, and we have applied to the LPA to remove the condition in respect of the farmhouse on the grounds that it does not meet the six tests”, concludes Sanders.

For further information on any rural planning or valuation matters please contact Mark Sanders on 01884 212380 or at marksanders@acornrpc.co.uk

 

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