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Tue 31 August 2021
Historically, residential development in the open countryside has been tightly controlled and, until relatively recently, the conversion of redundant rural buildings was often only possible where the use of the resultant dwelling was restricted, by way of a condition, to an annexe, housing for rural workers or holiday accommodation etc.; a fact that explains why you see so many traditional barn conversions used as holiday lets.
Once imposed, removal of such conditions can be challenging and time consuming, often requiring proof of unviability and/or a period of marketing. However, changes to Local Planning Policy mean that this is not always the case, as established by a recent case in Mid-Devon concerning the removal of a Holiday Occupancy Condition.
Rural Chartered Surveyor Guy Wilson BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV of Stags Professional Services explains that “where the Local Plan is silent on the removal of occupancy restrictions, one must look to National Planning Policy, specifically the six tests to which all planning conditions must adhere: those of necessity, relevance to planning, relevance to the proposed development, enforceability, precision and reasonableness. Therefore, where changes in Local Policy afford support for the unrestricted conversion of redundant rural buildings, conditions imposed on previous consents that restrict occupation will fail the tests of necessity, relevance and reasonableness; thus, providing sufficient grounds for removal of that condition”.
For advice on all planning matters, including the removal of occupancy restrictions, contact Stags Professional Services on 01392 439046 to be put in touch with your local professional.