Help centre aims to aid affordable community-build and custom-build projects

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has granted City Hall funding for a new resource to support small-scale, community-led affordable housing schemes.

The Homes for Londoners Community Housing Hub will offer online and telephone support to individuals and groups interested in self-build and custom-build projects in the capital, as well as to construction professionals.

Expected to go live in the summer, City Hall said the hub would offer tips on how to access funding and unlock land, as well as technical support for projects and a base for information sharing. It will also feature advice surgeries and workshops.

Khan has allocated £250,000 towards the project, which will be based within the community-housing sector with the funding covering three years of operation.

He said the move underscored the need to look at “all possible ways” of building new and genuinely affordable homes for Londoners to rent or buy and that the new hub would be a “one stop shop” for helping grassroots schemes.

“Londoners should be able to play a leading role in building their own communities but for too long this has been difficult and they have had no support or access to funding,” he said.

“[The hub] will help strengthen capacity amongst Londoners to embark on new projects, as well as offering support including technical expertise and access to funding.”

The hub proposals also have the backing of the London Community Land Trust, which is developing projects in Tower Hamlets and Lewisham.

Khan cited community interest company Naked House, which is developing a 22-home affordable scheme in Enfield, as an example of the kind of community-led project the hub aims to support. The group is also benefitting from £500,000 in funding from City Hall.

Naked House seeks to cut the costs of new housing by stripping back new homes to their most basic elements. Pitman Tozer Architects and OMMX are among the practices it has worked with to date.