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Monday, 24 September 2012

Ag tags and adequate market testing

It can be frustratingly difficult to show that an agricultural occupancy restriction on a property is obsolete. A recent decision by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)* contains some useful pointers about what a rigorous market testing exercise would look like.

The application to the tribunal related to a Welsh property and the Welsh planning regime, but the lessons are equally valid this side of the border.

The property owners’ land agent came in for some criticism from the tribunal for not:

• offering the property to rent as well as to buy (that was the only way to establish whether a rental market existed);

• carrying out an objective analysis of comparables;

• advertising in specialist farming publications such as the Farmers’ Weekly/Farmers Guardian (thereby reaching the maximum potential market);

• making explicit adjustments to reflect general market movements (any adjustments were bundled in with the ag tag discount).

So, it is largely in the breach that we learn what good practice would look like. The overriding message for those looking to get ag tags removed is to take time to plan your market testing exercise. Be as thorough as possible, cover all the bases and keep meticulous records.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this blog please contact Emily Barker. Emily advises on a range of housing and planning issues.

*Rasbridge, Re Cefn Betingau Farm [2012] UKUT 246 (LC) (23.08.2012)