London’s largest community-led, self-build and 100% affordable housing scheme gets green light from Lewisham Council planners

Press release 19 February 2021

Our community-led project to build 36 new affordable homes in Lewisham took a huge step forward last night, as Lewisham Council approved minor amendments to the scheme’s design, including an increase in the number of affordable homes. The homes will be built on a brownfield site at the end of Church Grove in Ladywell, Lewisham.

The new homes, available to local people who meet the project’s affordability criteria, will be high-quality, sustainable and permanently affordable. A range of property sizes and tenure types will help to create a mixed and diverse resident community.

The scheme was co-designed by a group of future residents, who will also help build it alongside apprentices and volunteers from the local community. It includes communal food-growing and gardening spaces, a shared laundry and a publicly accessible playground.

Planning permission was granted by Lewisham Council in 2018. With significant progress made in tendering for the construction contract and close working between RUSS and its funding partners, building work is due to start in Spring 2021.

Last night, the Council approved ‘Minor Material Amendments’ to the scheme, which include:

  • Adding three more affordable homes to the scheme, including one more social rented flat
  • Improved public access to the Ravensbourne river front and a new playground
  • Low maintenance, non-combustible fibre cement cladding, which has an A+ sustainability rating
  • An all-electric scheme to eliminate fossil fuels for heating and cooking.

RUSS’s Chair, Anurag Verma, welcomed the approval: “We are delighted with the consent for our amendments, as these are pivotal to the delivery of the Church Grove project.  Thanks to the commitment and support of our stakeholders, volunteers and staff, we are one step closer to realising our ambition of creating a sustainable neighbourhood at Church Grove and delivering much needed affordable housing in Lewisham.”

In 2019, nearly 100 volunteers built the RUSS Community Hub on the Church Grove site, which serves as an affordable, eco-friendly work and events space available for hire at discounted rates for the local community. The Hub is also home to the RUSS School of Community-Led Housing, which provides training workshops and public events sharing lessons from across the community housing sector.

There are a small number of homes currently available for sale on a shared equity basis, and some other tenure types have short waiting lists. Information on how to apply can be found here or by contacting

Further information on the approved minor amendments to the scheme’s design can be found on the Lewisham Council website here.

Plan of Church Grove site alongside Ravensbourne
The Church Grove site alongside the Ravensbourne.
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