Muse – Why creating choice is critical in delivering future housing

From changing living habits to the need for more sustainable homes, as well as creating a housing market that can respond to the needs of the population, there has never been a clearer need for delivering both choice of tenure and type in housing. 

Muse is one organisation that has a long track-record of providing that choice, by working in partnership with local authorities, contractors and communities, to create thriving neighbourhoods where people want to live.

It requires local knowledge, experience in delivery, and the security that comes with long-term stewardship, an approach that Muse has pioneered with its joint venture partners. Under the English Cities Fund (ECF), Muse is working with Homes England, the government’s housing and regeneration agency, and Legal & General, one of the UK’s largest institutions and a major global investor, to unlock urban potential by delivering area-wide, long-term regeneration projects. 

At the heart of this residential-led placemaking strategy is the need to create good quality and well planned homes for people and families. It’s Muse and ECF’s belief that to create sustainable, cohesive and diverse communities for the future, then a placemaker must first deliver choice in where and how to live.

That choice includes:

Mixed tenure

Affordable, build to rent, single family homes, shared ownership, social and owner occupier properties, are all needed to create well-balanced, authentic urban neighbourhoods that people are proud to belong to. 

In Northshore, Stockton-on-Tees, this approach has seen Muse working with partners Homes England and Stockton Borough Council to create a new neighbourhood of 350 new family homes in a mix of tenures, including shared ownership and affordable rent. It’s this approach that is helping to create a vibrant new neighbourhood on this former industrial riverbank, transforming the area by meeting the diverse needs of the community of which it’s part of. 

Flexible housing types 

Across communities and neighbourhoods, it’s important to deliver mixed tenure but also mixed house types. Family homes can take many forms, from the traditional house to apartments and town houses, and it is key to understand the needs of the local people and create bespoke solutions that are appropriate to the area. 

They also need to reflect and support people throughout their lives. So, if residents are first-time buyers, downsizing or looking to safely and securely rent, delivering housing for all ages and circumstances is the key to creating exceptional new places.

High-quality build and specification

To build pride and a sense of place and to deliver true mixed tenure, houses need to be designed to the highest-possible specification and standards, regardless of whether they are affordable, BTR or for owner occupiers, a key reason that all homes that Muse creates are designed to be tenure blind. 

Muse has long-term partnerships with organisations from right across the industry, from architects, and contractors to contract administrators and sustainability consultants, to make sure all homes are delivered well and fit into the local landscape, while ensuring they meet the needs of the local community.

In Northshore, Muse is delivering affordable homes that offer high-quality design to transform a redundant brownfield site into a thriving new place that supports the ever-growing community in this area. 

Well planned flexible environments

Low carbon, authentic urban neighbourhoods need a mix of use and tenure, green spaces, homes and businesses, schools and infrastructure to allow a sense of community to take root. This provides residents with the ability to make their own choices, on where to live, where to relax, where to shop, how to travel and how to spend their time, delivering true quality of life and helping to nurture inclusive, happier communities.

In Canning Town, known as Manor Road, Muse is developing a new urban neighbourhood that offers a mix of homes alongside high-quality green space to create a new community.  As part of its ECF JV it is delivering 804 homes, with 50% of these being affordable. Alongside the new neighbourhood, the team is delivering a near three-acre park that sits within the wider site, creating a new space that all the community can enjoy. 

Responsible and responsive management

Whether partnering with a housing association, developer operator or a housebuilder, there needs to be a shared belief in providing long-term stewardship, with a focus on people and their wellbeing. It’s not enough to hope that ‘if you build it, they will come’, residents should be treated as customers and provided with ongoing support.

That means providing a high level of customer service, delivering clear and consistent communication and effective ways to raise issues and have them resolved.

Muse partners with some of the UK’s leading housing associations, such as Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Group, Notting Hill Genesis, Thirteen Group and Salix Homes, as well as institutionally backed operators, such as Aviva, The Land Trust, Legal & General, PIC, and Get Living, to make sure that long-term stewardship and support is in place, helping to deliver the reassurance that residents need to put down roots and create a true sense of place and belonging.

It’s something that can be seen in Hucknall, where Muse has worked closely with partners at Rolls- Royce, Ashfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council to deliver a long-term vision for the site. 

To deliver choice in modern housing requires a holistic approach and the scale to deliver all these outlined elements. As how we live continues to evolve then the housing supply has to evolve to meet those needs, to help build diverse and cohesive neighbourhoods for the future.