Rural Affordable Housing

Rural affordable homes can be provided in a number of ways and we can help you to discover the options available as well as guide and help deliver new homes in rural communities where they are most needed.

We can assist with:

  • Gaining evidence of housing need in your local area 

  • Looking at options of delivery for new homes

  • Supporting and guiding through the planning process

  • Advising and signposting on funding that may be available

  • Partnership working with partner Affordable Housing Providers (housing associations)

  • Signposting groups to expertise advice on delivering Community Led Housing projects such as cohousing, Community Land Trust and co-operative housing.


Rural Exception Site

Traditionally, rural affordable housing is delivered through the rural exception site (RES) planning policy COM8 as outlined in the Affordable Housing SPD September 2020 and Test Valley is able to support rural communities to do this by:

  • Helping to identify local housing need with Parish Councils and communities through carrying out housing need surveys

  • Working with Parish Councils to find suitable sites for small affordable housing schemes; the schemes are usually built on rural exception sites (RES) on land outside of but adjacent to a village’s settlement boundary, where other development would not normally be permitted

  • Working with landowners to identify land and/or who have offered land for rural exception site housing

  • Holding public consultation events to give residents the opportunity to comment on potential sites and schemes

  • Working with partner Affordable Housing Providers to deliver the homes and making sure the homes are allocated to those with a local connection to the parish, and in perpetuity.

The council has developed a service which will support rural communities in Test Valley to deliver their rural housing aspirations so please do contact us.

Other types of rural housing delivery

Community led housing - There are a number of ways in which this can be delivered:-

Community Land Trusts are one form of community led housing, other types include cohousing and housing co-operatives. Projects that are genuinely community-led all share common principles:

  1. The community is integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions like what is provided, where and for who. They don’t necessarily have to initiate the conversation or build homes themselves.

  2. There is a presumption that the community group will take a long term formal role in the ownership, stewardship or management of the homes.

  3. The benefits of the scheme to the local area and/or specified community group are clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.

Community Land Trust (CLT) - Community land trusts (CLTs) are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier. For more information, please visit the CLT Network at  National CLT Network

Co-housing – housing and communities that are created and run by the people who live in them.  Each household has a self-contained private home, as well as shared community space.

Self and custom build housing – Self-build housing is housing designed and built by an individual for their own occupation.  Custom build housing involves an individual or a group of individuals commissioning a developer to provide serviced plots and build homes on their behalf.  The Council holds a register for those interested in registering for self-build for more information please visit

Housing co-operative – this is similar to CLT but the co-operative have equal share and responsibility for the homes and the communal spaces within the development.

For further information please contact us.