Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has awarded £988,000 to a community self build project in Lewisham to create affordable homes.
The Rural Urban Synthesis Society secured planning permission earlier this year to self build quality, affordable homes for its members.
The south London group plans to build 33 homes on Church Grove in Ladywell, Lewisham, ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses. The homes have been designed to tailor to the occupants needs, with the group having a say throughout the design stages.
The building work will commence early next year and will be partly self built by residents, RUSS members, apprentices and volunteers from the wider community. The group has chosen this hands-on approach to reduce construction costs.
In 2016, Lewisham Council leased the site to RUSS for a nominal sum with the intention to promote affordable housing. Once work is completed in 2021, the council will allocate seven homes.
The RUSS will retain at least 20% equity in the remaining 26 properties. This setup is to ensure the homes cannot be sold on the open market and will only ever be transferred on to members on the RUSS waiting list.
Through the Innovation Fund, Mr Khan supports the Lewisham initiative which will provide training in construction skills to ensure the community self build complies with Building Regulations, Health & Safety measures etc.
The Ladywell Self Build Community Space, located on site, will also offer workshops for groups looking to kick-start similar projects. The events will cover topics such as gaining planning permission for community self builds.
“We are hugely grateful for the Mayor’s generous support. This is an exciting initiative that follows co-operative housing principles. It shows that there are many ways in which we can creatively address our housing needs,” says Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham.
“Lewisham has a radical housing tradition and RUSS’s self build Community Land Trust builds on that history. Most importantly this is a development that will keep homes affordable in perpetuity.”
The Mayor is also supporting the community-led housing sector by funding a new London Community-led Housing Hub. The hub provides information and advice, capacity building, and technical support for communities wishing to develop their own homes.