05 Dec 2017

RUSS submits plans for London’s largest self-build project

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RUSS submits plans for London’s largest self-build project

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) has submitted a planning application to Lewisham Council for London’s largest self-build project.

The proposed 33-home scheme will be built on a one acre plot close to RUSS’ Church Grove site, in Ladywell, Lewisham.

The new homes will range in size from one to four bedrooms, with an expected final build cost of £8.6m. 14 of the properties will be available on a shared equity basis, 12 under shared ownership and six rooms across two shared homes will be designated for affordable rent. Five of the homes will be set aside for social rent, with the occupiers to be nominated by Lewisham Council.

The purchase cost of the homes will be much lower than equivalent properties in the area, with residents predicted to be able to buy a 25% stake in a typical one-bedroom home, from just £77,500.

RUSS has achieved this affordability by working in partnership with Lewisham Council to facilitate the site on a 250 year lease. The land will be held in a Community Land Trust, so the homes will be valued based mainly on the buildings, rather than the land. Additionally, the residents will design simple and cost-effective homes, with some buyers proposing to take construction work on themselves, to bring costs down further.

In light of this, a three-bedroom shared-ownership home is anticipated to cost £141,000 (for a 25% stake) with a monthly rent of £763, reduced by £208 per month because of the resident’s input during the building stages.

In addition, because the homes have been designed to be highly energy efficient, their running costs will also be much lower than equivalent new properties.

Councillor Damien Egan, Lewisham’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “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.”

London's Largest Self-Build

Birds eye view of the site in Ladywell, Lewisham

RUSS Chair Kareem Dayes said: “We’re delighted we have got our detailed planning application in for the site. It’s been a long journey, but after eight years of community effort, huge levels of support from Lewisham Council, the GLA and many other bodies, this is a really important milestone.

“Our members have worked tirelessly to get here; and we are now confident that we can achieve our dream of delivering genuinely affordable community-led neighbourhoods right across London. This is the first of, we hope, many similar projects.”

The innovative scheme will be the largest low-cost self-build housing project ever undertaken in London. Planning permission is expected in the New Year, with construction starting in 2018.

All the properties have already been reserved for local people who meet the project’s affordability criteria and the new residents should be able to move in some time in 2020.

RUSS has worked extensively with Lewisham Council to provide better quality, affordable housing in London, following its winning bid to build 33 environmentally-friendly, affordable homes at Church Grove.

Words: Jen Grimble

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