Ex-Fenland councillor Pop tries to get agricultural condition lifted on home

A FORMER Fenland councillor has put his �650,000 home up for sale but is trying to get an agricultural occupancy condition lifted that could affect its sale price.

Pop Jolley, a former deputy leader of Fenland District Council, first marketed his Poppyfields home in Wimblington Road, Manea, this year for �650,000 but recently dropped the asking price to �575,000.

When Mr Jolley, a Manea parish councillor, applied for permission to build the home in August 1997 he was only granted permission on condition that occupation of the home would be limited “to a person solely or mainly employed, or last employed, in the locality in agriculture”.

Manea Parish Council said at the time they would support Mr Jolley’s bid to build Poppyfields “providing the application has agricultural stipulation”. Next week the parish council will be asked for their views on the new application to give Mr Jolley a certificate of lawful use for the home.

Mr Jolley says he has not farmed the property, which is for sale with 46 acres of land, and wants the agricultural occupancy condition removed.

His accountants, Price Bailey of Ely, told Fenland planners they have acted for him “in connection with accountancy and taxation affairs from April 6 2000 to date and confirm that no farming activities have been carried out during this period”.

Mr Jolley is using a procedural device, known as a certificate of lawful use, to challenge the agricultural occupancy condition.

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In an application now being considered by the council, Mr Jolley says the “existing farmhouse has been lived in for over 10 years with the applicant no longer having any farming interest”.

He said in his application that “I have not complied with the agricultural condition for the past 10 years and would like a certificate of lawful use, removing the agricultural occupancy”.

In September 1997, Mr Jolley’s agent, Craig Brand, told the council that the application was a revision of a previous approval three years earlier but that Mr Jolley had only recently been able to sell his former home.

“However, in the three years since the previous approval, his farming concerns have increased and continue to increase when the right opportunities arise,” said Mr Brand.

“Presently my client owns 500 acres; Poplar Farm and Rutland Farm (325 acres) being the main holding. In addition my clients also contract farms a further 500 acres for Nicholas Farms of Manea Road, Wimblington; R A Hawkins of East Street, Manea; Dr Hirson of East Street, Manea and L Fox of Witch Elm Farm, Manea.”

Mr Jolley, a former district councillor for Wimblington and later Manea, resigned from the council in 2005 for what were described by the then leader, Geoff Harper, as “personal reasons”.

However, at the time of his resignation there was an ongoing inquiry into allegations made against him by a senior executive of the council but following his resignation these were not followed through.

His five-bedroom home was originally placed for sale for �650,000 through Cheffins but recently it has been advertised with Sharman Quinney for �575,000.

Mr Jolley plans to move to a new home in Manea village. He said he retired from farming in 2000.

One current member of the council said: “As far I know Mr Jolley has never used it as a farm house but if planners allowed him to have an agricultural condition then the fault lies with them for not enforcing it.”

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