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Rural Exception Sites: A Step-by-Step Guide


Step 1: Identify a Need

The process begins by assessing whether or not there is a need in your local community for affordable housing.


This need will usually be identified through a housing needs survey. The survey will be carried out independently by a rural housing enabler (a point of contact between the Parish Council, District Council, housing association and local community). They will gather evidence from local people to establish how many residents are currently in need of affordable housing.


The results of this survey will highlight whether or not there is a need for affordable housing in the parish. It will also highlight how much residents can realistically afford to pay to purchase or rent a new home.


Step 2: Choose a suitable location

Once a need for affordable housing has been established, suitable sites for development by the Housing Association can then be considered. The views of the local community will be sought and considered in choosing the most appropriate place for the affordable housing.


Often, rural exception sites will be located adjacent to the village boundary, as a natural addition to the local community.


Step 3: Plan and design the properties
Affordable housing will be built to a high standard, usually with well-proportioned rooms, and a good amount of outdoor space.


Input will be sought from the Parish Council as to the design of the new properties. Consideration will be given to building materials and outside space to ensure the development is aesthetically pleasing but also consistent with the surrounding style of buildings.


In this way, the properties should enhance the local area as well as providing much needed housing for the community.


Step 4: Seek planning permission

Planning permission will be sought once a need for affordable housing has been identified, an appropriate site has been chosen and the design of the properties agreed.


The decision is likely to take a minimum of 2 months and will usually be taken by the planning committee rather than a planning officer.


Step 5: Construct and allocate properties

If planning permission is granted, allocation of the properties can begin. In order to ensure the local need is met, a Local Lettings Plan will usually be drawn up by the Housing Association and the Council and agreed by Members, outlining how properties will be allocated.


Bids will be invited from residents on the Council waiting list as well as the Housing Association waiting list, and houses allocated in line with the local connection criteria. This should ensure the local need for affordable housing identified at the beginning of the process is met.







The Regeneration Team

01902 696000

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