The launch of the ‘Sustainable City Charter’ and the Westminster Property Association (WPA) report: ‘Retrofit in Historic Buildings’ signals a shift in approach and commitment to drive Zero Carbon Westminster

The impressive retrofit study prepared by the WPA in consultation with Westminster City Council (WCC) sets out practical advice and future recommendations for property owners and developers, policy writers and decision makers on the upgrade of historic buildings, specifically with the view to improving their environmental performance as part of ‘Net Zero Westminster.’

Amongst the technical examples for owners, increases in value and rental yield following interventions demonstrate how these approaches are commercially attractive and protect portfolios from future obsolescence.

Of most interest perhaps to professionals at the hard nose of the planning negotiations, is the issue of the weight given to sustainability considerations in the planning balance. The recommendation at the end of section on Planning Policy and Regulation states: ‘As well as due consideration to policy guidance and flexible application, the WPA urges WCC to take action in two key areas relating to sustainability: change at the decision-making level to drive the climate agenda and effectively implement political and policy aspirations and undertaking improvements to the Westminster Carbon Offset Fund.’ 

This clearly chimes with the declarations made by WPA and WCC in the Sustainable City Charter – a pledge from both organisations to put their combined weight behind improving environmental performance across the built environment.  We’ll be unpacking these themes in future posts and in the work we’re doing with colleagues in the heritage / architecture sector.