Tower Hamlets Council recently announced the two successful community groups to start creating self-build homes at Lark Row and Christian Street, as the borough releases the Pigott Street site specifically for community-led self-build.
The council’s Affordable Self-Build Programme creates opportunities for communities and groups of individuals to build their own homes. Through the Programme, the council aims to make it easier for potential self-builders to work together to access the land they need, to deliver more affordable housing in the borough. Groups are responsible for clienting, designing, building, and managing their own homes.
Community Led Housing London (CLH London) is providing focused, pragmatic, and tailored support for the two groups successful in bidding for these self-build sites – Squeezed London developing six homes with shared cohousing facilities at the Lark Row site, and Platform Homes aiming to build two units on a tight site at Christian Street. This includes support with legal and governance structures, ways to develop the homes and access finance, financial modelling, and long-term management.
Levent Kerimol, Director of Community Led Housing London, said: “We’re very excited to help progress these schemes and work with two groups who wish to live affordably in housing they control and that meets their needs.”
Jalal Aziz, a founding member of Squeezed London, said: “I’m engaged in a number of local initiatives as a Tower Hamlets resident, and I want to see homes for those who are priced out of the area, but I’m also attracted to like-minded individuals who want to improve housing so that it’s developed with community at its heart.”
Tower Hamlets are joined by Camden, Croydon, Harrow, Greenwich, and Waltham Forest, in working with CLH London to create opportunities for community led housing. They are finding that community led housing can diversify and contribute to housing supply, unlocking delivery, and increasing density in tricky contexts, such as small sites and existing estates – to create mutually supportive and more independent communities.
Cllr Hassell at London Borough of Tower Hamlets said: “Partnerships with our communities are key to embedding their role in making a positive contribution to London’s housing delivery now and into the future”
Tower Hamlets’ next council-owned site Pigott Street is now live to bidders. Get in touch to see how we can help you prepare a proposal.
The site is released through a competitive bidding process open to community groups with local connections. By scoring bids 20% on the financial proposal and 80% on qualitative aspects (including community benefit and the sustainability of the scheme) Tower Hamlets has signalled a clear intention to accommodate proposals that meet the needs of local residents, and which may not be viable through conventional routes. The council will also prioritise proposals that optimise the density of housing on council land, in line with planning policy.
CLH London provide practical assistance to London boroughs to move from ad-hoc approaches to CLH to more streamlined proactive programs with regular opportunities for community groups. These could include a proportion of developments or small sites being made available specifically for community led housing through property or planning policy initiatives; or by acting as enabling developers to assist groups.