A community group from Crystal Palace has been chosen to develop its own affordable homes after winning a council-run competition.
Crystal Palace Community Land Trust (CLT) has been selected for its commitment to turn a piece of council land at The Lawns in Upper Norwood into high-quality, low-carbon affordable homes by working with local residents to provide a scheme that best fits the local area.
A panel, formed of deputy leader Councillor Alison Butler and council officers with a range of expertise, chose the winning community-led homes bid on Tuesday out of four shortlisted applicants from across the borough, considering factors including viability and design.
The winning group, formed of local residents with professional specialisms including architecture, transport, housing management, planning and sustainability, submitted a bid that aims to:
• Meet low-carbon Passivhaus building standards
• Build a community food garden available to site residents and their neighbours
• Explore volunteering and job opportunities
Crystal Palace CLT’s proposals are outline and will become more detailed as the scheme progresses. Issues such as design, layout, whether the homes are flats or houses, the number of homes and the number of bedrooms will be considered before a planning application is submitted.
Before applying for the bid the Crystal Palace CLT team met residents local to the site to listen to their thoughts about the area, talk about their ideas with them, and will now develop an extensive community engagement process so neighbours can help shape the design. The first such engagement event is from 12-3pm on Saturday 21 September at The Lawns, weather permitting.
Crystal Palace CLT will receive design and development support throughout the process from Brick by Brick, the council-created developer delivering around 2,000 homes including affordable homes across the borough.
Crystal Palace CLT grew out of the Crystal Palace Transition Town initiative, which runs projects like a weekly food market and community gardens to reduce carbon footprint while building community resilience.
Croydon Council approved the community-led housing programme at its cabinet in January and opened the bidding process in June to any local interested organisations. The council intends to make more sites available across the borough in future for local groups to apply for similar community-led homes.
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “The passion and expertise in our communities for developing high-quality homes for local people has shone through our bidding process, and I want to thank all applicants.
“However, we had to pick a winner, and Crystal Palace CLT was the outstanding applicant. They impressed me with their commitment to not just design sustainable homes but also work with neighbours at every stage of the process so the proposal is the best it can be.
“Council and Brick by Brick staff will offer help and guidance at every stage of the process, and I look forward to Crystal Palace CLT working with the community to turn their ideas into full proposals that boost the supply of much-needed affordable homes for local people.”
Jemima Foxtrot from Crystal Palace CLT said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve won the bid and thank the council for the opportunity. We’ll now develop our plans to build sustainable homes that are as affordable as possible. We’re not for profit and we’re fully controlled by our local members, so we’d love for local residents to join our group to have a say about how we proceed.”
Colm Lacey, CEO of Brick by Brick, said: “We’re really excited about working on this fantastic project. Increasing the number of community-led housing schemes being delivered in the borough is crucial to improving overall affordable housing supply and we are delighted to be able to offer our support and expertise to help deliver the Crystal Palace CLT vision at The Lawns.”