Supporting Community-Led Housing as part of a mixed-market approach – Lewisham Council

Posted on 10th November, 2017

Lewisham Council (LC) is an urban authority with high housing demand and rising homelessness. There is a lack of affordable housing with house prices and private sector rents both rising. LC sees community-led models as part of a wider-mixed market approach. It committed in its housing strategy 2015-20 to support community-led development and is now working with two CLTs to deliver 50 affordable homes for local people priced out of the market and in housing need.

LC considers that CLH projects have the capacity to overcome some of the challenges typically encountered in developing new homes. They help to develop smaller, complex sites that larger organisations find uneconomic. They engage local communities very effectively and offer a way of managing local concerns over residential development. They maximise shared community spaces to enable denser developments providing more homes, and are one of the few ways of providing homes that are guaranteed to remain affordable.

For its Church Grove community self-build scheme, LC selected CLT RUSS as the enabling developer to support the self-builders and leased a council site to it at a peppercorn rent. The site has access, flood risk and contamination problems and would have provided nine homes if sold, but the scheme will provide 33 affordable homes (five social rent nominated by the council, 28 shared equity selected by ballot). The £6.2m cost of the scheme is being met through a combination of grants and loan finance and £1m of self-build labour. The CLT will retain a minimum stake of 20% in all the homes to ensure that they remain affordable in perpetuity.

The Brasted Close community-led development will provide 10-15 homes on a council garage site previously marked for council-led infill development. They will be for sale with the value linked to local median income in perpetuity. London CLT and Lewisham Citizens engaged with local residents to develop the plans. LC will transfer the site to the CLT, which will commission the development. The sale price of the homes will be linked to median incomes in perpetuity; residents will sign a contract with the CLT to ensure that when homes are sold on, the value will be at a similarly affordable level.

Full Case Study: Lewisham_CLH