Project name Church Grove
Lead partner RUSS
County Greater London
Planning Authority Lewisham Council
The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) has been successful in its bid for a site for 33 new environmentally-friendly and affordable homes in Lewisham, London. Following several years of campaigning, RUSS, a Community Land Trust, has been appointed as the development partner for the community-led scheme at Church Grove. Architype is the architect for the site, with Jon Broome Architects having a dual role as a strategic consultant to the senior management team and also advising on sutainable design, affordability and the integration of the self-build element, both in terms of technicality and participatory design process.
Key to winning the bid was RUSS demonstrating that its plans were financially viable, that affordability was a core element to the scheme and that residents and the local community were involved in every aspect of the design, construction and management of the homes.
The site will see a mix of 30 homes created to reflect the needs and finances of the community group, with a mix of tenures, from one-bedroom to four-bedroom homes. It will also feature a mix of social rent, affordable rent, shared equity and shared ownership properties. The project will also include training opportunities for young people through the construction of shared flats.
Adopting a Community Land Trust approach has helped the group ensure affordability is built in from the start, and that the properties stay affordable in the long term. “We aim to establish a new precedent, a replicable model in community-led housing that will benefit people currently unable to access housing on the open market,” says RUSS founder, Kareem Dayes.
This is grass roots building at its very best. Community Land Trusts lead the way in bringing forward multi-occupancy developments, and offer a route to success that could be emulated by larger, developer led projects. The distinction between self build and custom build is interesting on community projects. For me I see these firmly in the custom build camp as it is a group of individuals building customised homes, rather than a single one off property. What’s more, RUSS is acting as a developer bringing the properties on – even if some will have a high-level of self build going on.
But what are your thoughts – is this self build or custom build in your view?