Yorkshire Post - Property
Building mixed tenure housing is working well
The last decade has seen more developers make big strides in terms of design, energy efficiency and modern methods of construction.
But creating truly mixed new communities populated by owners, renters, by the young, the old, the comfortably off and those who can barely afford the basics is still quite rare.
This gap in the market is where Countryside Partnerships North is hoping to make a difference. The foundation of its innovative business model lies in taking sites and creating mixed tenure housing with homes for sale and properties for private rent, along with affordable homes, aka social housing.
Its Pullman Green development underway in Doncaster is a classic example of its modus operandi.
What was a brownfield site In Hexthorpe, once home to Doncaster Railway Works, had been vacant since 2007, in an area in need of regeneration.
It has now been cleaned up and is being turned into a 671 home development with 305 houses for sale, 200 private rented homes and 166 affordable rental properties that all have access to 10 hectares of public open space and a footpath along the River Don.
MD of Countryside
Partnerships North, Chris Penn, says: “We are trying to be different to other house builders.
“The houses to sell make up between 30 to 40 per cent of the properties on a site and we bring a partner on board to take the rental homes and a social housing provider to take the affordable rental homes.
“The idea is to build a community not just a housing development and we aim to do it at quite a fast pace using modern methods of construction so we can quickly create a sense of place.”
The properties are built with energy-efficient, closed panel timber frames with insulated plasterboard. The frame and walls can be erected within a week leaving just the roof to tile and the interior fit out to complete.
Vital in creating a cohesive community is making all the homes “tenure blind” so Countrywide ensures that all the properties are the same.
Many developers forced to add some social housing to their sites as dictated by planning conditions make it quite clear who the “have nots” are with the use of cheaper materials and fewer frills on the affordable homes/ social housing. It is an abhorrent practice.
“The affordable homes on our sites look exactly the same as the ones we have for private rent and for sale from the building materials to the landscaping,” says Chris.
With residents now moving into the Doncaster development, Warrington-based Countryside has wasted no time in expanding into other areas of Yorkshire.
They now have sites in Barnsley, Wakefield, Bradford and Thorpe Willoughby, near Selby. There is also one in Kirkbymoorside, where half of the 250 houses will be affordable homes.
“There’s a lot happening and plenty to come and we have a mix of brownfield and greenfield sites. We are also working with Karbon Homes at Thorpe Willoughby as they want air source heat pumps in the affordable homes and that’s been a very interesting journey,” says Chris, who adds: “We are selling what we do as something different and our business model means we can work at speed.
“The mixed tenure is also working well and there have been no problems with integration. In fact, we usually have a waiting list for all the homes. www. countrysidepartnerships.com