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Rural Housing - Local Connection

Pebmarsh and Great Bardfield - local connection criteria

View the local connection criteria for the affordable homes at Water Lane in Pebmarsh and Braintree Road in Great Bardfield.

Affordable housing in rural areas and local connection - an overview

Providing affordable housing in rural areas can help support family and social networks as well as the sustainability of the local economy.

Development opportunities in rural areas can be limited but there is a mechanism within the planning system that can help provide affordable housing where a local need has been identified.  This is known as Rural Exception Site Policy.

Affordable homes developed on rural exception sites are allocated differently to homes built through usual planning policies.  Applicants who can demonstrate a strong local connection to the area are given higher priority for the homes than other applicants.  Local connection to an area is defined in the legally binding Section 106 Agreement for each individual scheme and is referred to as the Local Connection Criteria.

Local Connection Criteria are specific to affordable homes on individual rural exception sites but broadly follow the same structure.  Highest priority is typically given to applicants who currently live in the area, followed by those who have previously lived in the area, those who are employed in the area and then those who have close family relations in the area.  If no eligible applicants are found to comply with the local connection criteria, the criteria can be applied to surrounding villages.  

Affordable homes on rural exception sites are usually allocated to households with the strongest local connection to the area, who have the most urgent housing need and who have been waiting the longest.