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School of Geography

Public Housing Regeneration under the Private Finance Initiative

A Study about People, Place and Local Governance


Stuart Hodkinson & Chris Essen



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1. What are the aims of this research?

The main aim of this study is to gain an in-depth understanding of council housing tenants’ and leaseholders’ experiences of regeneration schemes in England that use the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). We are particularly interested in finding out how residents feel about the changes to their homes, communities and environments, whether they welcome or oppose them, and their experience of services provided. We also want to look at how neighbourhoods are physically restructured and what this might mean for both the provision of affordable housing and the social mix of people living there. There is a more detailed outline of our project available here.

2. What is PFI?

Introduced by the Conservative Government in 1992 and then embraced by the Labour government, PFI combines the short-term construction and / or refurbishment of existing or new public buildings, roads and other infrastructure with their long-term management and maintenance in long-term contracts lasting between 10 and 60 years. The contracts are awarded to groups of private sector companies and banks who raise the necessary finance themselves but are ultimately paid for by taxpayers. PFI effectively transforms the state from a direct provider of services towards a procurer of services and a regulator of privately-supplied public services.

3. Who is running the research project?

The project is being run by 2 researchers based in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. The lead researcher and project manager is Dr Stuart Hodkinson who has been researching and writing about housing policy, regeneration and the use of PFI on council estates for several years now. The second researcher is Chris Essen, who has come new to housing from a background of involving the public as partners in health service design, delivery, education and research. 

4. Who is funding the research and how long does it last for?

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which is a government-funded body that provides financial support for academic research. Our research is 100% independent of government and business, and our funders cannot influence our findings. The project started on 1st October 2011 and runs until 31st March 2014.

5. How can people interested participate in the research?

If you live or used to live in housing that has been or will be regenerated under PFI, then please get in touch with us using the contact details below. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part, and you can withdraw at any time without giving a reason. All the information that we collect about you will be kept strictly confidential. We are equally interested in hearing from local councillors, local authority officers and PFI companies.


This research is now drawing to a close. We are in the process of disseminating our findings and would like to thank all those who have kindly participated. As a taster, the following is a report about the results of a survey we supported residents on Myatts Field North to carry out, about tenant experiences of the council housing refurbishment works on their estate.

Myatts Field North Refurbishment Report


Email: housingpfi(at)

Telephone: 0113 343 8750