A Brownfield site in Ladywell was offered by Lewisham in support of the creation of 36 new residential homes by Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS), a community land trust. The idea of this community-oriented project was based on the local requirement for affordable living, enabling Lewisham Council to reduce the housing waiting list and free up larger homes for families. The development provided a range of affordable housing options to include, shared ownership, fixed equity and London Living Rent and London Affordable Rent.   

Appointed as Client Representative, HUSH supported RUSS in the management of the scheme through the delivery phase. As the conduit of information we tailored this accordingly to suit the respective stakeholder groups. HUSH brought expertise to support RUSS and the Board of volunteers in the provision on unbiased advice that is cognisant of the sensitivities of the project alongside the commercial considerations to guide and inform decision making.   

We also worked closely with the board of volunteers to help establish mechanisms to support future residents in constructing self-build flats alongside main contractor Rooff. A complex arrangement that carefully took into consideration Health and Safety, training requirements, interfacing with the main contractor and programme coordination.  

Five shell homes were handed over to 11 residents in January 2023 to deliver the fit out of their homes alongside self-build volunteers. The rest of the homes were delivered as self-finish apartments. This community engagement project was the first of its kind in London and took a modern approach to typical fit-outs, considering the end users alongside sustainable initiatives.  

The units were designed and constructed with a low-carbon future in mind, including sole use of electricity connected to air source heat pumps and PV panels, high standard insulation, green roofs, rainwater harvesting and the aesthetic feature of climbing plants to provide natural shading.  

The scheme design exceeded the requirements of the fire regulations in response to input of requirements from future residents as part of the design consultation for the scheme. 

The scheme supports the local community with a local hub that can be hired and communal landscaping design that provides a new public access to the Ravensbourne river, supporting Lewisham Council’s long-term aspirations to open up access to the river. The wider area of landscaping and food growing space has public access during daylight hours to encourage use of outdoor spaces.  

The project completed in February 2024 and is the first development of this type to offer self-finish and self-build apartments across a broad tenure mix within London.  

Royal Urban Synthesis Society

Building/Street Name
12 Church Grove, London

Construction Period
19 months

Project Value
Circa £8m

Area of Advice
Client Representative