Last edited 12 Jul 2016

Mixed tenure development

The term 'mixed tenure development', sometimes referred to as 'integrated housing' or 'tenure integration', describes an urban planning strategy in which poorer and more affluent residents live in a mixed community.

At its most basic level this may simply involve developing neighbourhoods in which some streets are intended for owner occupiers, and others for social housing. However, more diverse mixed tenure developments might adopt a 'pepper-potting' approach in which social housing is 'randomly' sprinkled throughout privately-owned housing.

It is thought by some that this mixing of people from different socio-economic backgrounds creates more diverse, cohesive and interesting communities and helps to improve social mobility. It can also be used as a policy to compel developers of private housing to make some provision of social housing.

Mixed tenure development became common in the 1970's, providing an alternative to uniform estates or 'mono-tenure developments' which were thought to segregate socio-economic groups and to create deprived ghettos. It has subsequently been encouraged by successive governments through policies such as the right to buy and right to acquire and through the use of section 106 agreements requiring that developers build a proportion of new housing as 'affordable housing', that is, '...social rented housing, affordable rented housing and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market' (Ref National Planning Policy Framework)

However, mixed tenure developments are seen by others as an attempt at social engineering, forcing people to live in community groups they would not themselves choose. It is also seen by criticised for allowing the government to avoid providing council housing, and as a way of hiding poverty by simply dispersing it, rather than dealing with the causes.

Some owner-occupiers believe that mixed tenures reduce the value of their property, and there can be conflict between people from different backgrounds who may have different behavioural expectations.

In September 2015, the NHBC Foundation and the Homes and Communities Agency, published 'Tenure integration in housing developments - NF66'. This literature review considered the success of different approaches to mixed-tenure developments, finding that:

  • Financing is the main barrier to mixed tenure development.
  • If the design and quality of the overall development is to a high standard, property prices are not necessarily affected.
  • A wider range of typologies and unit sizes enables people to move from one type to another and so stabilises neighbourhoods.
  • Management structures and costs should be agreed before building commences.
  • The boom of the private rented sector and buy to let has changed the anticipated tenure mix.

In 2012, The challenges of developing and managing mixed tenure housing, a briefing paper published by The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, found that mixed tenure developments accounted for a greater proportion of affordable housing investment than had ever been the case previously, and that mixed tenure developments were an essential component in achieving balanced and sustainable communities.

It reported little evidence of purchaser reluctance to buy property on mixed tenure developments, and found shared equity had been a particularly popular option for first time buyers. However, it suggested that a 'tenure blind' approach to design was crucial, and that there remained challenges around owners' expectations for managing anti-social behaviour caused by, or perceived to be caused by social housing tenants.

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