Croydon community groups can now put forward bids to build their own affordable homes on a council-owned plot of land.
In January the council approved a project where local groups can design and develop their own community-led homes on borough land. Bidders will also receive design and development support from Brick by Brick, the council-created developer set up to deliver around 2,000 homes including affordable homes. The first such site is at The Lawns in Upper Norwood, and is suitable for around four houses.
On Monday the eight-week bidding process opened via the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s Small Sites Small Builders online portal, after which a shortlist will be drawn up and bids for The Lawns will be assessed for viability, design and the council’s other community-led housing criteria.
The GLA’s Small Sites programme aims to provide a streamlined service for public sector landowners to bring small, publicly-owned sites forward for housing-led development, as well as invigorate new and emerging sources of supply including small developers, small housing associations and community-led housing groups.
When the winning bid is chosen, the successful applicants will need to carry out detailed engagement with local residents before applying for planning permission. Additional construction support will be available to the winning bidders if their community-led housing scheme receives planning permission.
The scheme is open to all kinds of interested organisations, which can range from residents’ associations to faith groups. Around 25 people attended an advance site visit in early May, and there is a further opportunity to visit The Lawns on 13 June.
When it launched the initiative, the council was praised for having “some of the best policies in the country” by the National Community Land Trust Network, which encourages local people nationwide to develop their own homes.
“Community-led housing is one of a number of ways the council is boosting supply of affordable homes across the borough, and we plan more at other Croydon sites in the future.
“As well as offering good-quality and affordable homes for local people, this development has to be well-designed so it complements the local area and I look forward to seeing the bids we receive.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services
Colm Lacey, CEO of Brick by Brick, said: “We’re really excited about supporting this council-led initiative. We have a great deal of experience in successfully delivering these type of sites, and we are delighted to be able to help community groups overcome the typical challenges that they present to deliver more affordable homes for Croydon.”