Artistic Collective Forms Housing Co-operative in a Bid to Become London Homeowners
Is this the Gen-Z answer to the housing crisis or a flawed experiment?
Since the pandemic, there has been plenty of discourse around the slightly hyperbolic ‘exodus’ of Londoners.
This has largely been attributed to finances preventing them from becoming homeowners in London and the increase in remote working enabling them to live slightly further afield.
For some, this would have been a welcome shift – they no longer had to compromise on lifestyle to suit their employment. They could become homeowners in an area of their choosing, while still succeeding in their chosen career.
For others, leaving the city is non-negotiable. It’s where their friends are. It’s where their family are. And for many, physically going into college/university/work is essential.
As a result, these people are back to square one – outpriced by a city that has an increasingly exclusive property market.
But as history has taught us many times over, impositions and restrictions often prompt creative responses. This is the case for The Rising Sun Collective – a group of artists, designers and musicians in Peckham.
The Evening Standard shares the story of their response to being threatened by eviction from the converted Victorian pub (that has lent its name to its tenants) they have lived in since 2015, as their landlord has decided to cash in on the property, with SE15 property prices almost doubling in that same amount of time.
The Rising Sun has clearly become integral to the lifestyles of its nine inhabitants. Not only does it offer considerably cheaper than average rent (£650pcm verses £1,572pcm in London and £1,852pcm in Peckham, specifically), the residents have also turned it into a bohemian idyll, creating a studio and rehearsal space in the basement. Finding somewhere else that ticks so many boxes would be a tall order. So, the creatives got creative.
The idea was floated that they formed a housing co-operative to buy the pub, with the support of Community Led Housing London and Catalyst Collective. This has helped them raise almost £1m of the £1.2m asking price in loans and a mortgage. With a further £70,000 raised, they have been given until the end of August to find the remaining £130,000 before the pub goes back on the market.
While not exactly a new concept, the idea of housing co-operatives is an interesting response to rising house prices – both for buyers and tenants. Critics and supporters may alternately dub it idealistic and entitled or counter-culture and resourceful.
London has made and broken the dreams of many young creatives – some establish themselves within their scene, while others submit to the odds stacked against them and settle for a 9-5 and move to the outskirts. It will be interesting to see whether this is an experiment destined to fail or a blueprint for a new type of home ownership in the capital for residents who are keen to break through the glass ceiling of exclusivity.