About Ag-Ties & Legal Deeds of Agreement
What is an AOC or Ag-tie ?
An Ag-Tie or AOC is an Agricultural Occupancy Condition also known as an Agricultural Restriction which is set within a planning planning approval to build a dwelling in the countryside for the purposes of agriculture or other activities described within the definition of agriculture.
Such conditions first appeared in the 1947 planning act and were subsequently modified in the planning acts of 1962, 1971 and 1990 and although each planning act defined a model condition to be used by planning authorities throughout England and Wales, many authorities have made modifications to the standard model condition of the day, accordingly this firm has considered literally hundreds of variations over the years, all of which define a different bite to the AOC.
How do I know if I can remove my Ag-Tie ?
As dealing with planning matters is fraught with complications and given that there are so many Ag-Tie variations, if or not you can remove an agricultural occupancy condition all depends upon the size, history and use of the property, hence the need for a full investigation into all relevant issues to ensure the essential ingredients prevail that would facilitate the removal of the AOC., this we do without charge should a viable route to remove the Ag-Tie not be found.
What is a Section 52 or Section 106 Agreement ?
Section 52 and 106 agreements are legal deeds of agreement made between the council and the property owner and their successors in title and are used to embody what are known as planning obligations which define to basis upon which planning consent is given.
How do I know if I can discharge a Legal Deed of Agreement ?
Although section 52 and 106 agreements are both legal deeds of agreement, unlike 106 agreements, section 52 agreements have no planning remedy and therefore can be dealt with judicially of informally as if a planning application, which as far as we are concerned is the 'preferred route', however, discharging a legal deed of agreement depends upon whether such an agreement serves a real planning purpose, as such very much like removing an AOC, a thorough investigation is needed prior to engaging with the council.
Do I need to advertise my property for sale to remove an AOC ?
This is a common misconception as there are many routes available to remove an AOC, for example a material change of use, a material breach of condition, lack of implementation and so on, so its vital to choose the correct form of application and evidence to win the case.
Do I have to sell my Ag-tied dwelling to anyone who expresses interest in it ?
No, not at all as being the property owner you have the absolute right as to whom you sell your property to.
Can the Council force me to sell my Ag-tied dwelling ?
Yes they can, but only in circumstances where a person is proven to be in breach of the Ag-Tie.
If I do not work in agriculture, can I buy an Ag-tied dwelling ?
Yes you can, as it is the occupation of the dwelling and not the ownership that counts, hence our comply to buy scheme through which we establish a safe compliance program for a non agricultural buyer.
About General Planning Matters & Permitted Development
Can I get planning consent for a dwelling on a spare parcel of land that I own ?
When considering applying for such an approval, a lot depends upon its location, therefore it is essential to look before you leap to avoid wasting time and money.
Can I get planning approval to convert my agricultural buildings to residential or business use ?
On this subject, much has changed positively over recent years, inasmuch as many of such building conversions now fall under Notice Q or R, both of which are considered as 'Permitted development', therefore so long as all criteria is met then you will get the result you desire.
Can I place a mobile home in my garden ?
So long as permitted development rights have not been withdrawn from your property, then you have the permitted development right to install a mobile home of a maximum of 20ft x 60ft in round terms, to serve as overspill or ancillary accommodation for your principal residence.
About Refusals & Appeals
If I have been refused planning permission, what can I do ?
In circumstances where you have been refused, our advice is to avoid going straight to appeal as more often than not, it is possible to attend to the matters raised in the council's reasons for refusal and resubmit your application, in short, appeal is the action of last resort to remedy the situation.
About Formal Complaints
If the planning or enforcement department have not followed correct procedures, what can I do?
In circumstances where it is clear that officers for the council made procedural errors in determining your application then you are entitled to submit a formal stage 1 complaint, clearly setting out what these errors are, and should the complaint be brushed off out of hand as they often are, then you can escalate your complaint to stage 2 for the Chief Executives Office to review and reconsider.
If an officer for the council demonstrates rudeness or offensive behaviour, what can I do?
In circumstances where it is clear that an Officer (Public Servant), has flouted the 'Nolan Principles', then you are at liberty to go straight to a stage 2 complaint, and for your understanding, the seven principles are outlined below:
Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.