Rural Exception Sites

Rural exception sites can be extremely helpful in providing a policy justification for obtaining planning permission in rural areas, particularly outside of settlement limits.

Rural Exception Sites arise from an under appreciated type of local development plan policy which permits development in rural locations where housing development would not usually be allowed, provided they include a majority of affordable housing.

Rural exception sites allow delivery of both affordable and market housing in more isolated rural locations outside settlement boundaries which might ordinarily be rejected by local authorities without the benefits of above-average affordable housing delivery onsite. Thus the ‘exception’ element.

These policies are generally designed for 100% affordable housing developments; however they are often caveated that they can be utilised to deliver an element of open market housing as well.

Whilst designed to deliver 100% affordable housing, Market housing is often permitted in cases where the open market housing is crucial to provide a cross subsidy to enable delivery of affordable units without grant funding. Essentially the open market housing provides financial support to improve the viability of affordable housing delivery.

Every local plan policy is different – with some allowing up to 50% open market housing, while others limit this to 80%. Some policies list specific tenures, while others include broader definitions with self-build plots included.

Design, layout and local need are all important considerations from an early stage with rural exception sites, to optimise viability and ensure the requirements of local policy are met.

There are often many requirements that must be met by rural exception site reporting, including provision of adequate data to justify the proposals.

This is where our viability and affordable housing expertise comes into play. We will discuss the site with you in detail and advise on the most viable options for a rural exception site, including size, tenure, layout, ratio of affordable to open market housing, and local need. We provide detailed and robust reporting to support your proposal with the council, in addition to further negotiation services if required.

Get in touch today for a free no-obligation chat with one of our consultants.



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