RUSS lease

An affordable self build housing project in Lewisham, London, has come a step closer with the local council signing the 250-year lease on the land in Church Grove, Ladywell.

Signed by Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan (right in photo), the deal secures the site for the community-led project by the Rural and Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS). This paves the way for the building to begin for the 33 homes on the 1-acre site. Including a range of homes, from one- to four-bedrooms.

The site is a Community Land Trust, with the land held by the trust and homes valued mostly on the cost of building, as opposed to the cost of building and the price of land. This mechanism helps keep properties affordable, combined with the fact that the homes have been designed to be simple and cost effective to build with the option for future residents to get involved with construction to bring costs down even further.

To celebrate the milestone, a time capsule was buried on the site of the newly completed Community Hub, a training facility for self builders that was recently completed with the help of 90 volunteers over the last six months.

RUSS Chair Anurgag Verma said: “It’s been a long haul getting our project to this stage, and Lewisham Council has supported us on many occasions along the journey. Our site at the end of Church Grove is one of the main things they’ve assisted us with, so the signing of the lease on the land is an important hurdle for us to clear.”

Photo credit: Jeff Teader

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