Agricultural occupancy conditions
Agricultural occupancy conditions

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agricultural occupancy conditions
  • What is an agricultural occupancy condition?
  • Why remove an AOC?
  • How to remove an AOC
  • Establishing breach of an AOC

What is an agricultural occupancy condition?

A dwellinghouse can be constructed in the countryside only in very limited circumstances (eg where the property is required for a full time agricultural worker who needs to reside on a farm to care for livestock or agricultural produce). The planning permission for such a property will have an Agricultural Occupancy Condition (AOC) attached to it, whereby only a person employed (or last employed) in the locality in agriculture or forestry (and his dependents/widow(er)) may occupy the property.

The scope of AOCs has been the subject of much case law—see: Establishing breach of an AOC below for a summary of key case law on the subject.

Why remove an AOC?

An AOC dramatically limits the potential market for a property and therefore depresses its value. In addition, the agricultural population has greatly reduced in the last few decades, and so there may no longer be any need for agricultural workers in the vicinity of the property.

How to remove an AOC

Owners of property subject to an AOC restriction can try to remove the condition either through:

  1. making a planning application for variation of the earlier consent under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), or

  2. making an application for a certificate of lawfulness

Application to vary earlier consent under