Applications have now opened for our first RUSS housing project at Church Grove. Here’s the full press release:

A rare opportunity for Lewisham residents to apply for one of 33 affordable new homes within the borough has been announced. Expressions of interest are now being sought from those wishing to become residents of the new development planned by the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) in Church Grove, Ladywell, south London.

Successful applicants will work with RUSS’ project team to agree proposed building plans to be submitted for approval by Lewisham Council.

RUSS has now announced the ballot and eligibility criteria that will lead to the selection of the future residents. Applicants must have lived or worked in Lewisham for an eligible amount of time, or have a family connection to the borough. The applications deadline is Monday 29th February, with the ballot scheduled for 20th March. Expression of interest forms, together with the eligibility criteria, are available on the RUSS website ( To apply for a home it is necessary to become a member of RUSS. Membership starts at £1.

A launch event will be held on the 30th January at The Field, 385 Queens Road, SE14 5HD from 12pm – 3pm.

Further Drop-in sessions will be held on the 3rd and 17th February @ Ladywell Tavern, Gallery Space, SE13 7HS from 7pm – 8.30pm

Community group RUSS has been negotiating with Lewisham Council to purchase land in Church Grove. It plans to lead the development of an ambitious scheme to construct a community of self-build homes that will meet the needs of a diverse range of people who live or work in Lewisham. In October last year RUSS was named the preferred bidder for the scheme.

RUSS is a volunteer-led Community Land Trust that aims to provide homes for those priced out of the housing market. The group’s vision for Church Grove is to build high quality, sustainable homes providing a combination of one bedroom to four bedroom homes with a range of purchasing and renting options based on the needs of the residents who come forward for the scheme. This will include social rent, affordable rent, shared equity and shared ownership. The scheme will also provide the opportunity for people wishing to be involved with building the homes to learn and develop a range of building and management skills.

RUSS founder and chair Kareem Dayes, who grew up in the pioneering self-build housing community Walter’s Way in Honor Oak Park, is encouraging interested Lewisham residents to get involved, check their eligibility and apply for a RUSS home. Kareem said: “we are now entering a really exciting phase of the scheme. We’re searching for interested local people who want to become residents of our Church Grove project, and help to self-build part of their future home. Our energetic membership are making every effort to publicise the application process, so that as many Lewisham residents as possible have the chance to apply for an affordable place to live. As we move the scheme on, we are looking forward to working with the local community and Lewisham Council to maximise the benefits of this innovative, exciting project.”