Lewisham council has granted planning permission for a low cost self-build housing project

­BY CALUM FRASER calum@slpmedia.co.uk

London’s largest ever self-build housing project has been given the green light in South-east London.

Lewisham council has granted planning permission for a low cost self-build housing project, which will be built on a one-acre site at the end of Church Grove in Ladywell.

The 33-home scheme will cost £8.6million and will be built by volunteers.

The project was initiated by an 800-member community organisation, the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS), and construction is expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019.

Ted Stevens, a RUSS trustee, said: “Working on the project in a group is fantastic. You’re not just building a home, you’re building a community.

“You get to know your neighbours by working with them. It’s a really popular thing in Europe and communities that live in those houses often see a reduction in crime.

“The people know and trust each other.” The cost of the 33 homes, ranging from one to four-bedrooms, will be lower than places of the same size in the area, and five of them will be social housing.

Mr Stevens, 65, said: “New homeowners will help build their houses, but we will use a construction company to build the shells of the homes who will ensure they pass all the safety rules.”

The RUSS charity has designed the homes to be simple and cost effective and will be involved in the construction work themselves.

Through a shared equity scheme, residents are predicted to be able to buy a 25 per cent stake in a typical one-bedroom home from £77,500.

The monthly rent on the home would then be £429. A three-bedroom shared ownership home is anticipated to cost £141,000 for a 25 per cent stake, with a monthly rent of £763.

RUSS co-chairman Anurag Verma said: “We’re delighted to have secured planning permission.

“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.”

London’s first training facility for would-be community self-builders was also granted planning permission by Lewisham council.

The facility, called The Hub, will be constructed on the same land set aside for the housing project.

The Hub will be used during the main construction phase of the new homes. It will also hold a series of workshops and build-days where locals can learn about the construction process.

RUSS led a successful crowdfunding initiative in 2017 raising £55,000 for the project from more than 300 backers.

As part of this the Mayor of London’s initiative, Crowdfund London, donated £30,000 and the Lewisham Assembly provided a grant of £2,500.

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