Location: NORFOLK UK
Joined: May 2010
Hi scorpio i dont know if this will help, it sounds quite complecated.
"The biggest problem is getting a mortgage. Ordinary residential mortgages are usually not available, so it normally has to be a cash buy. A holding of 15 acres is scarcely viable for a person to make a living in agriculture, and the amount asked for the property would be beyond the reach of an agricultural employee who might want it.
So it is either being marketed so that it can be shown that despite marketing for 1-2 years, nobody was interested, even at a reduced (about -30%) value, or so that someone will come along, pay cash, and hope the Council will not notice.
The conditions usually say that the property has to be occupied by a person whose main occupation (or a retired person whose last main occupation) was in agriculture. There are variations on this format and sometimes the precise wording of the planning condition can be important.
The Council have a practical problem of establishing that a breach of the condition has taken place. Leaving aside the nosey neighbour who phones the Council up about it, perhaps to settle some score with the occupier, if the fields are grazed or crops grown on them, how likely is it that the Council will knock on the door one day asking for proof that the occupier actually works full time in agriculture? So allow a neighbouring farmer to stick his sheep on the fields sometimes, and the Council probably won't find out.
Whatever you do, don't attract attention by starting stock car racing or car boot sales on the fields or something like that!
Then after 10 years you submit an application for a certificate of lawful use, showing proof of uninterrupted non-agricultural employment, and you are then safe.