An earlier Blog (How to get an open market dwelling in the countryside) gave examples of cases where agricultural occupancy conditions had been lifted from farm dwellings, thereby resulting in unrestricted rural properties. A recent successful appeal case (DCS Number 400-011-117) involves the lifting of a holiday occupancy condition from a rural property. Permission had been granted in 1991 for the conversion of a Milk Marketing Board sub-base in the Wye Valley AONB to holiday accommodation. The permission carried a condition stating that it should only be occupied for a period not exceeding four weeks for any single letting and a return within four weeks by the same household was not permitted. Holiday use continued from around 1995 to 2008, the inspector noted. The appellant had not provided detailed information to indicate that a holiday let was no longer viable, although it was stated that there is a lack of demand in the winter months for holiday lettings in the area. The property had also been marketed for sale for two years. The inspector agreed with the council that the asking price was high but noted that the appellant had been willing to negotiate.
The inspector reasoned that due to its isolated rural location, the proposal would be contrary to the general principles of paragraph 55 of the Framework. Nevertheless, he considered that this was tempered by the fact that the proposal related to the removal of an occupation restriction for an existing property that had been vacant for a number of years. As such, he took the view that it could be considered in terms of the reuse of a redundant building due to the period of time that had elapsed since it was last used as a holiday let. He concluded that the proposal would bring a vacant property back into a beneficial use thus giving rise to a very small increase in the supply of housing and potentially supporting the local tourist economy.
So, there you have it. Leave a holiday let empty for long enough and you get an open market dwelling in glorious countryside. Neither lack of viability nor appropriate asking price need be proven.