Policy RUR 4 Essential rural worker occupancy conditions
- Applications to remove essential rural worker occupancy conditions will only be permitted where:
- there is no long-term functional need for the dwelling to support an agricultural or forestry enterprise, either on-site or in the surrounding area; and
- proper efforts have been made to dispose of the dwelling to persons who could occupy it in accordance with its attached occupancy condition footnote 11.
- Where essential rural worker occupancy conditions are removed, planning conditions and/or legal obligations will be usually imposed to require the dwelling to remain as affordable housing, with occupancy restricted in perpetuity in line with LPS Policy SC 6 'Rural exceptions housing for local needs'. Exceptions may be made where:
- An up-to-date housing needs survey footnote 12 identifies that there is no requirement for affordable housing provision in the parish; or
- It can be demonstrated that there are no Registered Providers willing to acquire the property with a discount from the open market value reflecting the value of the property as affordable housing footnote 13 .
6.16 Essential rural workers dwellings are only permitted where they are required to meet the functional need of the enterprise to which they are attached. It is important to retain these dwellings for agricultural and forestry workers to meet the needs of the rural area and to make sure that sufficient accommodation remains available to house agricultural and forestry workers.
6.17 LPS policies PG 6 ‘Open countryside’ and PG 3 ‘Green Belt’ restrict the provision of open market housing in the open countryside and the Green Belt. Where there genuinely is no long-term functional need for the dwelling and it can no longer be occupied in accordance with its occupancy condition, there is an opportunity to re-use the dwelling for affordable housing in perpetuity, which will assist in increasing the stock of affordable housing in rural areas.
6.18 The value of the property for affordable housing should be assessed by a suitably qualified and experienced surveyor.
(Footnote 11) To demonstrate that no other occupiers can be found who could occupy the dwelling in accordance with its occupancy condition, the dwelling should be marketed at a realistic price reflecting its occupancy condition for a period of not less than 12 months. The council will require evidence that a proper marketing exercise has been carried out including a record of all offers and expressions of interest received.
(Footnote 12) Cheshire East Council has housing needs surveys for many rural areas, which may be utilised. Where an up-to-date survey does not exist, the applicant must conduct a survey, based on the Cheshire East Council model survey, in conjunction with the parish council where possible.
(Footnote 13) To demonstrate that there are no Registered Providers that would be willing to acquire the property without its essential rural worker occupancy condition, a statement should be submitted setting out: the names and contact details of Register Providers approached; the property particulars provided to those parties including the proposed asking price; the dates(s) of this correspondence; and any responses received.
Previous page: Policy RUR 3 'Agricultural and forestry workers dwellings' | Cheshire East Local Plan policy index | Next page: Policy RUR 5 'Best and most versatile agricultural land'