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Rural Exception Sites

At a high level, rural exception sites are development located in the countryside and seek to provide affordable homes, to meet the local housing need.

Rural exception sites are located in any designated rural location, often at the edge of a rural settlement such as a village, and are unallocated and usually small in scale. The sites can be in designated areas, such as the Green Belt or an Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), but development must accord with the relevant policies and considerations.

These sites predominantly are brought forward for residential development and are intended to deliver affordable housing to meet the local housing need in the Council area and sustain rural communities.

Most Local Planning Authorities with up to date local plans incorporate a policy relating to these developments, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Although each local plan shall have specific requirements and rural exception sites were intended to deliver 100% affordable housing, open market housing is often permitted in instances when the provision enables the deliverability of the scheme. This is where viability comes in – a viability report may be prepared to evaluate the level of affordable and open market housing which may be provided at a site which allows the development to be viable and come forward as a rural exception development (subject to planning policy).

If you are considering whether or not to proceed with a rural exception site or would like to understand what the most lucrative scheme would be, you may consider obtaining an Economic Optimization Appraisal as an initial stage report to evaluate the viability of a development.

Alternatively, if you have a scheme which is designed and ready for submission but require a report to address the provision of open market housing within a rural exception site, we may provide a full Viability Assessment to be submitted with your planning application.

If you have any questions on rural exception sites, or viability generally, feel free to get in touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.


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