Agricultural tie removed from Swimbridge property after long debate

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North Devon Council’s planning committee voted against policy to remove an agricultural tie from a Swimbridge house at a meeting on Wednesday.

The tie, which had been in place on the Oakcroft property since it was built in 1967, was removed to help the unwell resident to sell the house and relocate to be with her daughter.

Planning manager Mike Kelly said he had to recommend refusal, but realised that a compromise could be possible.

The ‘condition 2’ agricultural tie meant that the house could only be inhabited by a current or retired agricultural worker.

The application split the committee’s members, as it did not comply with policy HSG11, which states that the removal of an occupancy restriction in the countryside should only be allowed if there is ‘no longer a functional need’ for the house and the house has been ‘suitably marketed’ for 12 months.

The house had only been marketed for 10 months at £525,000 originally, which had been reduced to £495,000.

Agent Peter Nancekivell, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said “she is not a well lady and where she lives is not suitable for her.

“I think this is an exceptional application to allow this lady to move forward and enjoy her life.”

Ward member Cllr Glynn Lane said he thought the reasons for refusal ‘should have been looked at a bit more sympathetically’.

Cllr Richard Edgell acknowledged this, but warned the committee to be ‘careful’ when discussing the removal of the tie.

“A lot of effort goes into planning restrictions and we need to go through the prices thoroughly.

“We need independent advice on what the real value of the house is.”

Cllr Edgell moved that the decision be deferred to enable time for an independent valuation and to market the house at the appropriate figure.

Councillors voted eight against and four in favour of Cllr Edgell’s motion.

The committee then voted on approving the application, with an amendment that the planning manager, ward member and planning committee chairman would agree an appropriate percentage of the sell-on value be used to be used to help deliver affordable homes in the area. This carried, with eight voting in favour and five against.

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