Last edited 02 Oct 2015

Pepper-potting

The term ‘pepper-potting’ is a form mixed tenure development. It describes an urban planning strategy in which poorer and more affluent residents live in a mixed community through the ‘sprinkling’ of social housing amongst privately-owned housing. Other forms of mixed-tenure development may provide a more structured, less ‘random’ mix, perhaps clustering different types of resident in different streets, or parts of a development.

It is thought by some that this mixing of people from different socio-economic backgrounds creates more diverse, socially cohesive and interesting communities and helps to improve social mobility. The alternative system of uniform estates or ‘mono-tenure' developments can lead to segregation of different socio-economic groups and to the creation of deprived ghettos.

Pepper-potting can also be used as a policy to compel developers of private housing to make some provision of social housing.

Pepper-potting has been common since the 1970’s and has been encouraged by successive governments through the use policies such as the right to buy and right to acquire and through section 106 agreements requiring that a proportion of new housing is built 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, It is seen by others as an attempt at social engineering, forcing people to live in community groups that they would not themselves choose. It is also thought by some to be a mechanism that allows the government to avoid providing council housing, and as a way of hiding poverty by dispersing it, rather than dealing with the causes of poverty themselves.

Some owner-occupiers believe that pepper-potting reduces the value of their property, and that the mixing of people from different backgrounds can lead to conflict. However, on 28 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. It found that:

  • Financing is the main barrier to mixed tenure development.
  • If the design and quality of the overall development is of a high standard, property prices are not necessarily affected by a mixture of tenures.
  • 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 begins.
  • The boom of the private rented sector has changed the anticipated tenure mix.

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