LewishamNews

‘The power of communities’: Affordable homes designed by residents open in Lewisham 

After 10 years of campaigning by Lewisham residents, 11 affordable homes are now complete.

The ​​new homes have been made affordable by linking their prices a to average incomes in Lewisham.

For example, two-bedroom homes have been priced at £272,500 and single bedroom homes are £215,000, around 65 per cent of the market price in the same neighbourhood.

Completed affordable homes in Lewisham (Picture: French + Tye)

Emma Evangelista, 33, a resident at Citizens House, said: “I have spent my whole life saving up in the hope that I would be able to move out and stay in the area, close to my mum and close to the job that I love. 

“In 2022 I stumbled upon the Citizens House Community Land Trust (CLT), one year later I have just moved into my dream apartment.”

Citizens House in Unity Way is now home to nine families who have just moved in, with two families in the process, all of whom have roots in Lewisham, including teachers, artists and NHS workers.

When residents move out, they must resell their homes at prices continually linked to incomes in the area, meaning they will be permanently affordable.

The new homes have been built by London Community Land Trust (CLT) in partnership with Lewisham Citizens, Lewisham council and the Greater London Authority.

This project started as a campaign by Lewisham residents through Lewisham Citizens, part of Citizens UK.

Nearly 500 Lewisham residents are members of London CLT and have led the project, making key decisions on the political campaign, land, home prices, design, planning and management. 

Community members selected and collaborated with key partners including BPM, Rooff and Archio, who were chosen by residents through a “choose the architect” vote and a series of public workshops.

The land for the project, previously an underused garage site, was provided by Lewisham council and the development forms part of its Building for Lewisham programme, which is delivering new social and affordable housing for local residents across the borough.

Peter Brierley, assistant director at Citizens UK, said the development was a “permanent reminder of the power of communities”.

With a total construction cost of £2.5m, Citizens House was funded by £1.1million in grants through the Mayor of London’s £38m Community Housing Fund; the Big Issue Invest London Housing Fund, supported by the Greater London Authority; and London CLT community shareholders.

Pictured Top: Lewisham citizens at the opening of Citizens House with the Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan (Picture: Archio)

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