The project aims at solving two problems: the shortage of available and affordable housing in a very expensive area and the poor quality of community facilities that lack long-term resilience due to short leases and a lack of community ownership. It focuses on working with community groups to do so. The solution is to re-develop sites by building community facilities on ground levels and affordable housing on top. The Dawes Road scheme involved the conversion of a Victorian school in Fulham. The old school building was purchased by a community group that supports all local voluntary community organizations but lacks funding to refurbish the properties. SBHG proposed that it build on top of the school ground floor and use the land value to refurbish the ground floor for voluntary group offices. 20 homes were built on the upper floors, with a new award-winning design on the roof. The scheme now successfully supports a host of small voluntary groups and 20 families in one and two bed accommodation.
Sepherds Bush Housing Association (SBHG) owns and manages 5200 homes in West London and is a Registered Social Landlord. As a landlord operating in one of the most expensive parts of Europe, it must use ingenuity and innovation to keep providing affordable homes. This given project is just one example of how this innovation can look like. Beyond housing, SBHG has a history of providing support through resident involvement and support for community activities and facilities.The idea is to work with community groups to acquire the land on which their often poor quality buildings sit, redevelop the whole site and use the ground level for community facilities and the surface above them effectively to provide homes. The community groups then get the land as a freehold and the Association takes a long lease above with a management agreement to maintain the whole building. The result: brand new long-term community facilities and brand new affordable homes at a reasonable cost. The Association builds the community facilities in less of the land value and uses grant and loans to fund the homes.