Lancaster Architects back #RetroFirst Campaign
HPA have signed up to Architect’s Journal’s prominent #RetroFirst campaign which seeks to prioritise reusing existing buildings, instead of resorting unnecessarily to demolition and new build. Launched at last year’s AJ Retrofit Awards, the campaign calls on government to promote and incentivise in the face of the current climate emergency.
Tax: Asking the government to cut the VAT rate on refurbishment, repair, and maintenance from 20% to 5%. This will encourage the re-use of old buildings.
Policy: Promoting the reuse of existing building stock and reclaimed construction material, by introducing new clauses into Planning guidance and Building Regulations.
Procurement: Stimulating the circular economy and supporting a whole-life carbon approach in construction by insisting that all publicly-funded projects look to retrofit solutions first.
To date, more than 100 architecture practices across the country have pledged their support to the campaign, which is endorsed by leading organisations and professional bodies including the RIBA, RICS, and UK Green Building Council.
As a practice, HPA are committed to improving building performance in practical and affordable ways, respecting their history but providing a new use. The practice has a long history of creative solutions in projects through the years such as: Stanley House (Liverpool), the Forest Side Hotel (Grasmere), St Peter’s Church Hall (Heysham), and the conversion of Grade II Listed Building into our offices in the centre of historic Lancaster.
Director Zoe Hooton commented: “In March 2020, HPA 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 developer CityBlock to find new use for the former ‘Friary’ Pub on 112 St Leonardsgate, which was originally a Church in 1879. This is an exciting opportunity for 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: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/retrofirst