9 July 2015
Re: License Application EPR/TP3035EW/A001 Crown Stables Mancetter CV9 1RF - 40,000 Bird Broiler Unit.
We strongly object to this Planning Application and write to you in connection with the above and wish to raise a query on the classification of the site and the subsequent requirements to satisfy NPPF policies.
We have found the following case law on the HMRC website, which was upheld by the Inland Revenue Commissioner, and whilst relevant to agricultural property relief for Inheritance Tax purposes seems equally appropriate to this application.
IHTM24035 - Agricultural property: farm buildings
Farm buildings, other than those for the intensive rearing of livestock or fish (IHTM24033) must be of character appropriate to the land. They usually will be unless, for example, the area of land is very small. The District Valuer will provide details in cases where the farm buildings are not considered to be of character appropriate.
The farm buildings must be occupied for the purposes of agriculture (IHTM24060). You may need to investigate this in some cases. For example, where all the land is let for mowing/grazing and there are extensive farm buildings, it may be that not all the buildings or structures were occupied for agricultural purposes and relief will not be available for buildings which are derelict. (IHTM24083)
IHTM24033 - Agricultural property: Buildings used for the intensive rearing of livestock or fish.
Buildings used for the intensive rearing of livestock or fish qualify for relief only if they come within the definition of agricultural property (IHTM24030), that is where they were occupied (IHTM24070) with qualifying agricultural land or pasture, and the occupation was ancillary to that of the land or pasture. So, agricultural relief may not apply in situations where there are buildings used for intensive farming activities such as egg production or breeding pigs and there is little or no land. Business relief (IHTM25131) may be available as an alternative in the case of a business which owns and occupies the buildings and land.
The case of Richard Williams (Personal representative of Mary Philomena Williams deceased) v HMRC  (SpC500), which came before the Special Commissioner in June 2005, provides some helpful guidance on this issue. The deceased owned a poultry farm, comprising three broiler houses used for the intensive rearing of chickens and around 7 acres of land. The Commissioner was asked to decide whether the broiler houses were of a character appropriate to the qualifying agricultural land in the estate. He decided that the broiler houses were properly described as farm buildings but they would only pass the test in IHTA84.S115(2) if they were occupied as an ’add-on’ to or as a subsidiary part of the larger agricultural operation carried out on the other land with which they were occupied.
The Commissioner's view was that the broiler houses dominated that part of the land they occupied and that there was no evidence of a wider agricultural enterprise on the remainder of the land being occupied. As a result, the occupation of the broiler houses could not be regarded as ancillary to that of the agricultural land. Nor were they of a character appropriate to the land and the claim of Agricultural Relief failed.
So to summarise, HMRC, in the case of Inheritance Tax, would not accept that the Mancetter Broiler Unit would qualify for 100% relief. Whilst it may be a farm building the enterprise is not agricultural in practice. To be accepted by them as agricultural it would have to sit on a much large area of agricultural land and not, as it does in this case, dominate the land. The court case quoted was therefore on all fours with the Mancetter proposal except that even a 7 acre area of land was insufficient.
It therefore leads on to surmise that if the Broiler Unit is not classed as agricultural it must mean that it is classed as a business and other criteria must come into play.
Your early views would be appreciated.
On behalf of the Mancetter Action Group
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