Affordable homes for local people on exception sites

There is a significant national shortfall in the number of affordable homes available to rent or to buy on a shared ownership basis.

This shortfall is reflected in our district, especially with the huge disparity between property prices and income, which has meant that many young families have had to move away as they are unable to afford to stay within their community. 

We have successfully worked with housing association partners over many years to build new affordable homes in villages across the district, and we continue to do so. New affordable homes built on average around 150 per year.

As part of the City Deal negotiations, we committed to providing an additional 1,000 new homes for local people on rural exception sites and other windfall sites.

Please see our rural exception sites page for more information.


If you have any questions about rural exception sites or if you need advice on whether to submit a site, please contact:

We would urge you to bring forward potential development sites in your village that the community and Parish are keen to see developed as affordable housing for local people.

We want to work with communities to provide homes that are on supported sites. Any site that has support will be more practical to take forward.

If you have a piece of land that you would like us to consider, please complete our Potential rural exception site registration form


We will be looking to build a proportion of the additional 1000 homes on rural exception sites.

On current estimates this means the council will build 20-30 new council homes per year along with our existing housing association partners - also known as RSL’s or RP’s (Registered Social Landlords or Registered Providers respectively).

As part of our work with the City and County Councils, we will be exploring land holdings they might have that could provide useful sites. The aim is to work together to make the best use of the assets we hold. 

As part of this work we want to work with parish councils to ensure any sites identified meet village requirements. 

Once we have undertaken initial assessment of any sites identified, we will be contacting the relevant parish council to put forward proposals. 

Parish council input is very valuable to us and we will work with the parish council to make a full assessment, both in terms of planning policy and viability of any sites identified.

All sites taken forward will have to go through the usual planning process.

The City Deal is £0.5billion of central Government grant, will be utilised in 3 tranches up to 2031 to provide infrastructure across Cambridge City and South Cambs, to generate better transport links and economic growth.

It is overseen by the City Deal Board comprising the City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridge University, the County Council, and the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).

In basic terms we have agreed with Government to build approximately 75 additional new homes a year in the City Deal area.

The release of the next tranche of £200m of City Deal funding in 2020 is dependent upon us making progress towards this overall 1,000 additional homes on rural exception sites.

An exception site is a site outside the village framework/development boundary which would never normally get planning consent but may be considered where it provides affordable homes for local people.

An exception site plot value is very low at around 10-15% of normal market plot value to help ensure a financially viable scheme.

Exception sites average around 10-20 new homes dependent on the housing need and size of the village; therefore we are looking at an additional 4-8 sites per year across the district.

The City Deal does not, at present, include any direct funding to build these new homes.


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