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Bourne Rural Presentation to South Downs National Park Authority

Jill Scrivener of Bourne Rural recently gave a presentation in relation to agricultural development and rural workers’ dwellings for planning officers across the South Downs National Park and host authorities.  

Some interesting topics were discussed including the need to appropriately consider the requirement for any new agricultural or equestrian development in the countryside, which is often a pre-cursor to an intensification of use on the site.  It is important at this early stage that the full impact of the proposals are considered by the local authority and that the justification for the proposals have been set out in detail. 

In addition, discussion was also had in relation to the matters which are appropriate for consideration in relation to applications for rural workers’ dwellings - what are the national policy requirements?  Importantly, does the financial test still have relevance?  Well, in my view, and from significant research undertaken - of course it does!  After all, how else can the permanent need for a worker to live on site be established unless through the consideration of viability and sustainability to ensure that the enterprise is capable of enduring in the long-term.  

A discussion was also had in relation to the lifting/removal of agricultural occupancy conditions.  Research undertaken by Bourne Rural clearly indicates that Inspectors still require a marketing campaign to have been undertaken in order to demonstrate that there is no existing demand for the dwelling, at that location, with the occupancy condition in place. This subject is such a minefield and garnered an active discussion during the presentation.  There are many other views, mine included, which would prefer the opportunities associated with removal of a restrictive occupancy condition to be removed - this would then take away any ‘hope’ value associated with the value of the land and dwelling and, in time, the value of the property would revert to an appropriate value, relative to the land and buildings availability.  Currently such dwellings and land are often purchased speculatively in the hope that, eventually, the condition will be removed and the price of the land/dwelling will then increase significantly.

A great day all round and a big thanks to the SDNPA for organising it!

Jill Scrivener