Lancaster Architects back #RetroFirst Campaign

HPA Chartered Architects have signed up to the Architect’s Journal’s prominent #RetroFirst campaign which seeks to prioritise the reuse of existing buildings, instead of resorting unnecessarily to demolition and new build.

Launched at last year’s AJ Retrofit Awards, the campaign calls on the government to promote and incentivise the reuse of existing buildings in the face of the current climate emergency.

The AJ’s RetroFirst Campaign asks for government action to encourage greater use of retrofit and refurbishment in three key areas: tax, procurement, and policy.


To ask the government to cut the VAT rate on refurbishment, repair and maintenance from 20 per cent to 5 per cent. This will encourage the re-use of old buildings.


To promote the reuse of existing building stock and reclaimed construction material by introducing new clauses into planning guidance and the building regulations.


To stimulate the circular economy and support a whole-life carbon approach in construction by insisting that all publicly funded projects look to retrofit solutions first.

To date, more than 100 Architect’s Practices across the country have pledged their support to the AJ’s campaign, which is endorsed by leading organisations and professional bodies including the RIBA, RICS and the UK Green Building Council.

As a practice, HPA are committed to improving the performance of buildings in practical and affordable ways which respect their history but provide a new use. HPA have a long history of creative solutions to the reuse of existing buildings, with projects through the years such as; Stanley House (Liverpool), the refurbishment of the Forest Side Hotel (Grasmere), St Peter’s Church Hall (Heysham), and the conversion of a Grade II Listed Building into our offices in the centre of  historic Lancaster.

Director Zoe Hooton commented “In March 2020, HPA Chartered Architects in Lancaster were one of the first practices in the North-West to sign up to the RIBA’s 2030 Climate Change Challenge; so signing up to the AJ’s #RetroFirst Campaign is an obvious next step for us, as it’s generally far more sustainable to refit and re-purpose our existing buildings than knock down and start again.”

HPA are currently working with the developer CityBlock to find a new use for the former ‘Friary’ Pub on 112 St Leonardsgate in Lancaster which was originally a Church in 1879. This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Lancaster to kick-start the development of the Canal Quarter. HPA are also working on a number of other refurbishment projects in the area, including the conversion of redundant office buildings into housing, and the refurbishment of hotels to breathe new life back into old buildings.

To find out more about the RetroFirst campaign and its aims see:


Latest News