Issues which arise on developing agricultural land
Issues which arise on developing agricultural land

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

  • Issues which arise on developing agricultural land
  • Overage
  • Sporting rights
  • Town and village greens
  • Commons
  • Public rights of way and rights of access
  • Hedgerows
  • Ecclesiastical rights
  • Nuisance

A number of issues can arise when land ceases to be used for agricultural purposes, whether as the result of a disposal of the land out of farming altogether or a diversification of activity within a continuing farming enterprise.


Agricultural land continues to be sold to developers (and others) who harbour short or long term hopes of securing planning permission for residential or commercial development of it. There is, of course, a huge difference in the value of the land with and without such permission. In those circumstances, if acting for the seller you should always consider whether the sale contract should contain some form of overage (sometimes also known as ‘clawback') mechanism so that the seller or their successors in title can share in the increased value of the agricultural land as and when planning permission is obtained.

See Practice Note: Overage—advice to clients and Negotiating overage—acting for the seller—checklist.

Sporting rights

Agricultural land may be subject to sporting rights (eg shooting and fishing) which have been expressly granted or which have been acquired by long user in favour of third parties. These are profits à prendre and will need to be ‘cleared’ from the land.

Town and village greens

In addition to sporting rights, the land may have been used for sport or other recreational activity