Lewisham council has approved plans for a housing project that will provide a small group of residents with the opportunity to build their own homes in Ladywell.
The aim of the project is to construct 33 high-quality yet sustainable homes on the site in Church Grove where Watergate School was once located. The development will be overseen by a Community Land Trust organisation known as the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS).
RUSS founder Kareem Dayes called the news “fantastic”. He said that after five years of planning, RUSS is ready to assist in the real work of building a community that is both sustainable and affordable in Lewisham.
Mr Dayes added that the goal is to establish a model in community-driven housing that is replicable and will produce quality homes for the good of the community.
The project is set to construct one-bedroom or four-bedroom homes, depending on what the buyer prefers.
The Department of Work and Pensions provided data from 2013 that revealed that over a third of privately rented Lewisham homes are forced to claim Local Housing Allowance that matches the highest of all boroughs in inner London.
Steve Tuner, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) Director of Communications, praised the undertaking but added that self-building was not really a mainstream solution to the housing shortfall in the UK. The HBF is a federation that works on housing issues and policies with government officials.
Mr Tuner added that London needs more new housing desperately, and any program that produces new homes must be welcomed.