A mix of private and social housing needed in new Northern Ireland developments
New housing developments in Northern Ireland should have a mix of private and social housing, according to findings in a new Chartered Institute of Housing report.
The report, ‘Rethinking social housing Northern Ireland’ from CIH, reveals that people value social housing and what it offers, but they do not want to see large, single-tenure social housing estates being built.
Instead, developments that have a mix of private and social housing are valued as they are seen to support sustainable communities and encourage people from different community and income backgrounds to live together.
Today’s report, the result of research principally sponsored by the Department for Communities, recommends that councils help to create these mixed-tenure developments through the planning system.
Terrie Alafat CBE, CIH chief executive said: “The way social housing is broadly delivered in Northern Ireland has not changed much over the past 20 years. Meanwhile there have been major changes in the public and financial environment, such as welfare reform.
“Our project was launched with this in mind, to help make sure social housing is the best it can be going forward. 230 people participated in this research and we were constantly told about the value of social housing in helping to tackle the record levels of housing stress, as those in housing need is at a record high.
“However we were also challenged on areas where change is required, such as the desire for more mixed-tenure developments. We are pleased to see that Belfast City Council’s draft plan strategy supports mixed-tenure and we would urge other councils to adopt similar measures.”
The report also recommends that:
- new affordable housing options are developed for lower-income people who are paying high market rents, and
- the house sales scheme – where tenants can buy their social home – is ended to protect social housing supply.
Paul Price, director of social housing policy and oversight, Department for Communities said: “The department is grateful to the Chartered Institute of Housing for taking this project forward. We will consider the findings and recommendations. They will help us advise ministers on the future of social housing in Northern Ireland. We are committed to taking forward responsive housing solutions, to work in partnership with a wide range of housing professionals and to find innovative ways to future proof social housing for generations to come.”