The government has identified eight pilot areas for the second phase of an initiative to use private funding to regenerate “sink” council estates, writes David Blackman.

Building has learned that the government is working with eight local authorities on pilots for its mixed communities initiative.

The aim of the plan, which is modelled on the US government’s Hope VI project, is to use cross-subsidy from private development to fund the regeneration of sink estates and get a wider social mix in such neighbourhoods.

The areas are: North Huyton in Merseyside; Grangetown and South Bank in Redcar, Cleveland; north-east Coventry; Holmewood in Bradford; the Braunstone estate in Leicester; Sheffield Burngreave; an as yet unspecified area in Bristol; and West Cliftonville in Margate, Kent.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott announced at January’s urban summit that the first three pilots would be in Leeds, Manchester and Canning Town, east London. This week’s announcement means that every English region will have a pilot project.

Braunstone, Burngreave, Holmewood and North Huyton are covered by New Deal for Communities projects. The Bradford Trident project, which includes Holmewood, is one of the three NDC projects that English Partnerships is involved in. This follows communities minister David Miliband’s recent extension of the regeneration agency’s remit to cover the flagship urban renewal programme (see Building, 23 September).

The Leicester NDC project has been beset by continual in-fighting among residents on the Braunstone estate on the outskirts of the city.

The initiative, which is modelled on the US government’s Hope VI project, will use cross-subsidy from private development

At a conference this week in London Docklands, Bruce Katz, an American regeneration expert, and Alan Beruba from Washington DC’s Brookings Institution outlined the lessons of the Hope VI project.

Earlier, Chris Holmes, a former Shelter director, presented the latest UK research on the subject. Holmes outlined the findings of a soon-to-be-published Joseph Rowntree Foundation study that shows that mixed neighbourhoods have lower levels of crime and disorder and their residents are happier than non-mixed neighbourhoods.

n The design quality of new housing is worse in the north of England than in southern regions, according to a CABE report.

CABE’s Northern Housing Audit, which is launched today in York, shows that just 6% of the 100 schemes surveyed by the architecture watchdog were rated “good” or “very good”.

By contrast, 17% of the schemes assessed in the earlier audit of southern residential schemes were rated “good”.