Shropshire Council

Single plot exception site policy

To engender additional community resilience and sustainability, and increase the affordable rural housing stock, we operate an innovative ‘self-help’ scheme enabling qualifying people to build their own affordable home on single plot exception sites.

Exception sites are granted planning permission as an exception to normal planning policies in order to meet a local need for affordable housing. In its broadest sense, this includes the provision of affordable housing for people who have a strong local connection to a specific area (eg a parish or group of parishes) who are unable to afford or secure open market housing in that area.

Exception site policies can be used to assist local people such as these before meeting the general housing needs of the wider community of Shropshire.

The scheme encourages those with resources (both land and finance) to invest them in the stock of rural affordable housing to the benefit of the local community in the long term.

In overview, this tenure provides a solution for those people in rural communities whose needs aren't met by the market, and yet may also not be a priority for the more mainstream (and publicly funded) affordable tenures developed by registered providers. When the first occupier no longer has need for the dwelling, they will transfer it at the appropriate affordable value to another local person in need with minimum intervention from us. Thus, the ‘community benefit’ of providing the affordable dwelling in the first place is itself recycled.

The future resale value of the affordable home is fixed in perpetuity below open market value (normally 60% of market value) to ensure that it remains affordable for subsequent occupiers. The valuation is based on the dwelling itself, and therefore disregards the potential additional gain from any garaging or other incidental buildings constructed within the curtilage. Purchasers of the property in the future must also meet the local needs criteria below.

Local needs criteria

To qualify for this scheme, applicants must:

  • Be in housing need
  • Be unable to access a suitable home currently available on the open market in the parish (or within 5km of the site)
  • Need to live locally
  • Have strong local connections to the parish

Applicants will normally be the prospective occupiers of the proposed affordable dwelling, and speculative development of this tenure is not permitted.

As a requirement of the section 106 legal agreement, the property can't change hands without our written consent. This will only be given if we're satisfied that the new purchaser is paying the prevailing ‘affordable’ price, and meets the local needs or cascade criteria as defined in the section 106 legal agreement.

Inheritance of the property by family members is permitted, and they may occupy the dwelling providing that they meet the local needs criteria, or otherwise let or sell it in accordance with the provisions of the s106 agreement.

For more information on building your own home please email us. Our current handbook is being revised and we hope to share this on our website at the start of next year.