Mayor backs community self-build plans for social and affordable homes
Mayor Sadiq Khan has awarded a south London community group almost £1 million to help it deliver social rented and other genuinely affordable homes for local residents and workers.
With the Mayor’s backing, The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) – a Lewisham-based Community Land Trust – has received £988,000 from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund to build 33 homes on Church Grove in Ladywell.
The site was gifted to RUSS by Lewisham Council in 2016. Seven of the homes will be allocated by Lewisham Council whilst RUSS will retain at least 20 per cent equity in the remaining 26 properties, ensuring they cannot be sold on the open market and will only ever be transferred on to members on the RUSS waiting list.
The homes on Church Grove, ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom homes and tailored to the occupants’ needs, will be partly self-built by residents, RUSS members, apprentices and volunteers from the wider community in order to reduce construction costs, with training in construction skills provided as part of the grant.
Through this approach, residents will be given a say in how their homes are designed, creating a development that reflects the needs and diverse backgrounds of the people who live there.
Sadiq has set a new target to identify a pipeline of community-led housing schemes by 2021, with capacity to deliver at least 1,000 homes.
London’s homebuilding sector is dominated by a small number of large developers that build the majority of the homes across the capital. Sadiq is encouraging other councils to build more through ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ – the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to new council housing with a target of 10,000 homes.
The Mayor is supporting the community-led housing sector by funding a new London Community-led Housing Hub, which provides information and advice, capacity building, and technical support for communities wishing to develop their own homes. He has also announced that London Community Land Trust will build community-led housing on two sites brought forward by Transport for London.
“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. 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.” - Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan.