‘Retrofit first’ policy floated for City of London schemes

Aaron Morby 4 months ago

Planners at the City of London Corporation have set out proposals to force developers to seriously consider retrofit and reuse as first options for planned redevelopment of buildings in the Square Mile.

Proposed new planning guidance will reshape future developments
Proposed new planning guidance will reshape future developments

The new Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document also sets out forceful guidance on controlling carbon emissions, flexible building design and further greening schemes as part of the Corporation’s net zero plan for the whole Square Mile by 2040.

The proposed guidance now out to consultation sets out what the City Corporation expects to see addressed in developer’s approach to their sites and the design and construction of buildings.

Five key considerations are identified in the guidance for developers

  • Retrofit and reuse – ‘retrofit first’ approach, promoting the reuse of existing buildings where this is the most sustainable and suitable approach for a site, in line with the City Corporation’s adopted Carbon Options Guidance.
  • Energy use and ‘Whole Life-Cycle’ carbon emissions – Focus on reducing and mitigating emissions from construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including demolition and disposal.
  • Circular economy in construction and operation – Developers should shift from a linear to a more circular construction model, where a long-life, loose-fit, low-energy approach is taken to all new and existing buildings and materials.
  • Climate resilience – Sets out how flood risk management, sustainable drainage systems, water management, infrastructure resilience, disease and pest control, as well as urban heating, should be approached for developments within the City.
  • Biodiversity and urban greening – Providing guidance on how development should contribute to connecting green spaces, creating more greening in the City, and provide measures that improve the biodiversity of the Square Mile.

Chairman of the Corporation’s Planning and Transport Committee, Shravan Joshi, said: “The Committee’s approval of this Sustainability SPD is a giant step forward for the City Corporation in pursuit of its decarbonisation goals, particularly as the built environment sector contributes around 40% of the City’s total carbon emissions.

“The City of London is home to some of the most sustainable buildings on the planet and as it continues to be a hugely attractive place for office occupiers, we are confident that investors and developers will continue with us on the path to a sustainable Square Mile.”

The first draft of the SPD will be out for public consultation in Spring 2024.

It has been designed to align to align with the emerging City Plan 2040, expected to be approved and adopted in 2024.


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