Lewisham housing project has been awarded almost £1m by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to build affordable homes built in part by the local community.
£988,000 was awarded to The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS)- a Lewisham-based Community Land Trust – from the mayor’s innovation fund to build 33 homes on Church Grove in Ladywell.
RUSS Trustee Ted Stevens told Eastlondonlines: “The big grant from the GLA has made all the difference. Without it we wouldn’t be able to fund the next stage of the work – all the surveys, soil samples, and technical consultant’s work; with it we are now all systems go and plan to start constructing the homes by the middle of next year. This is an innovative pilot project, and the learning we discover along the way will help us make our next scheme even more affordable and energy efficient.”
“Lewisham has a strong heritage of supporting innovative community-led self-built housing, and the borough is seen as being a real trend setter.
“Indeed this week there is a delegation of senior housing officials from Oslo coming to Lewisham to learn how councils can be supporting local communities that want to build their own homes the Oslo delegation will be in Lewisham on Friday”.
The homes on Church Grove, range from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom homes. Five of the homes will be allocated by Lewisham Council whilst RUSS will retain at least 20 per cent equity in the remaining 28 properties, ensuring they cannot be sold on the open market and will only ever be transferred on to members on the RUSS waiting list.
For local residents to be involved in the design of the homes, it will be partly self-built by residents, RUSS members, apprentices and volunteers from the wider community. This is to reduce construction costs, and with training in construction skills provided as part of the grant.
Khan, said: “To tackle the capital’s housing crisis, we need to think beyond large developers – councils, small builders, and community groups must play a vital role too. Community-led housing puts residents at the heart of the process, giving them a voice and the chance to contribute to designing their community.
“This is exactly the type of project my Innovation Fund was created to support, and I’m delighted we could help RUSS members in delivering much-needed high-quality social and other genuinely affordable homes. I look forward to following the progress of this project and would welcome further bids from parties interested in the future of community-led development in London.”