Lewisham Mayor Signs Lease for London’s Biggest Community Self Build Housing Project

Church Grove affordable community-led housing development in Lewisham reaches latest milestone with 250-year land lease
by Lucy Aplin
5th February 2020

The lease for what will be London’s biggest community-led affordable self build housing project has been signed by Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan.

The development, which is based on a one-acre plot of land in Church Grove, Ladywell, will see the construction of 33 affordable homes – making it London’s biggest community-led self build to date.

Timber clad building

RUSS’s new Community Hub

Construction will begin later this year, and the project will include a range of houses, from one to four-bedroom properties; all of which will cost less than equivalent homes in the area.

Residents have designed the homes to be simple and economical to build, with many signing up to help with construction in order to keep costs down.

Locally-based Community Land Trust the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) worked alongside Lewisham council to facilitate the site on a 250-year lease.

Time portal for community led housing portal

A time capsule has been made to bury in the garden at the Community Hub

The land will be held in a Community Land Trust. This means the properties will be valued mainly on the worth of the building, not the building and land combined, which will help to preserve affordability.

To commemorate the deal, a time capsule was buried at RUSS’s new Community Hub by the Mayor alongside Lewisham’s Cabin Member for Housing, Paul Bell, and RUSS chair Anurag Verma.

Team at community self build bury a time capsule

RUSS and the mayor of Lewisham bury the time capsule in the community hub garden

Among other memorabilia, the capsule contains an album of photos showing the volunteers who built the new Community Hub, a book about Lewisham’s self build history and a copy of the lease.

Anurgag Verma said: “It’s been a long haul getting our project to this stage, and Lewisham Council has supported us on many occasions along the journey. Signing the lease on the land is an important hurdle for us to clear.”

To learn more about this inspiring community self build development, visit RUSS

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