Tower Hamlets Affordable self-build programme
Self-build housing is where individuals or groups of individuals directly organise the design and construction of their own homes.
Through the Affordable Self-Build Programme, the council aims to make it easier for potential community-led housing groups and individual self-builders, to access the land they need to deliver more affordable housing in the borough.
So far three council-owned sites have been included in the Affordable Self-Build Programme
For each site, a different Tower Hamlets based community-led housing group was selected. The groups are currently progressing their designs to develop and deliver affordable homes for themselves.
Officers are currently working to make more sites available in Spring 2023. Visit the ‘How are sites awarded to Self-Build Groups’ section for more information on how you apply for a site.
To receive updates and get more information about the programme please sign up to the Self-build and custom build register. You can also join our self-build forums.
Details of any Self-Build Forum events are sent to everyone on the self-build register or email firstname.lastname@example.org. These are generally held annually and/or when sites are being made available.
How are sites awarded to Self-Build groups?
Sites are released through a competitive bidding process via the GLA Small Sites Portal. Bidding for sites is open to community-led groups. Where sites can only accommodate a single housing unit, bids will also be open to individual self-builders.
Sites are awarded to the highest scoring bidder, with bids scored
- 80 per cent on quality
- 20 per cent on the financial proposal for the site.
For a high score on quality, the council will be looking for proposals with:
- A scheme that maximises affordable homes and includes of affordable rented units
- A fair approach to housing allocation prioritising households with a connection to Tower Hamlets
- A design which integrates into the neighbourhood and responds to local context
- Sustainable good-quality homes that consider the long-term life of the building
- Good ideas on involving local communities
- Robust governance, management and delivery procedures organised by the community-led housing group.
A detailed Guidance for Bidders with a breakdown of the scoring criteria is available for each site that is released.
See Pigott Street, E14 as an see example on how sites are made available for bidding and check the latest LBTH Affordable Self-Build Programme - Guide to bidders. The guide shows how sites are released, who is eligible and what information is required from Self-Builders.
What is self-build and community-led housing?
Where sites can only accommodate a single housing unit, bids will be open to individual self-builders. Where sites can accommodate two or more homes, bids will only be open to community-led housing groups.
Self-build housing is where individuals or groups of individuals organise the design and construction of their own homes. You would be involved in bidding, getting planning permission, designing, building and managing your own home(s).
Self-Build covers a variety of involvement in the development and construction of the homes. As Self-Builders, you could do all the work yourself. Alternatively you can commission an architect to design the building and find a builder to build it.
Community-led housing is where people and communities play a leading role in addressing their own housing needs. It has many overlaps with group self-build and custom-build but also considers the long-term ownership or management. Any benefits (such as affordability) are legally protected.
Anyone can start a community-led housing group. You might be a group of friends or family, neighbours with similar interests or values. You can also be a member of an existing community group who wants to build affordable housing to meet your needs.
As a group you might be interested in cohousing or other ways to live together or in providing secure, affordable housing for you and your community, for example by starting a housing co-op. There are lots of different options for how you might design and manage a self-build housing project, whether as a group or an individual household.
For more information on community-led housing visit the Community-Led Housing London’s website. You will find information on different types of community-led housing and what support is available to set up your own community-led housing group.