Hundreds of homes will receive a carbon-neutral overhaul after Kensington and Chelsea Council secured grants of more than £20 million towards changing an area known as Lancaster West into “a model 21st century social housing estate”.
More than £19.4 million from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy will be used to complete energy-efficient “retrofits” to 367 properties on the Lancaster West Estate, which is next door to Grenfell Tower.
The cash is a part of £562 million government funding to enable over 200 local authorities across England and Scotland to fund a nationwide upgrade of the UK’s least energy efficient and fuel-poor homes. This will help to transform over 50,000 low-income households and social housing properties and support over 8,000 energy sector jobs annually, including local plumbers, builders and tradespeople.
Upgrades to another 38 homes in the estate’s Treadgold House will be made with an additional £1.6 million from the Mustbe0 EU Interregional programme.
Potential improvements to the North Kensington buildings include triple-glazed windows, high-quality non-combustible roof and wall insulation, renewable heating sources and new ventilation systems. Residents will benefit from cheaper energy bills, warmer homes and more attractive buildings.
The refurbishment forms the first part of the council’s sustainability plan, which will see over £100 million invested to reach Kensington and Chelsea’s target of being carbon-neutral in its operations by 2030.
James Caspell, neighbourhood director for Lancaster West Estate, said: “Building on three years of co-design, this additional funding for eight blocks that are home to hundreds of residents will jump-start our ambition to make our estate carbon-neutral by 2030 and enable us to share our learning with the rest of the UK.
“It will also support a green economic recovery from the pandemic by bringing a range of green jobs to the area so that this investment in Lancaster West becomes an investment in North Kensington.”
Plans for the net-zero refurbishments have been developed following extensive engagement between residents and the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team. Once completed, the schemes will help Lancaster West become a carbon net-zero estate by 2030 and the council to achieve its target of making all operations net-zero by the same year.
The refurbishments are part of a wider programme to transform Lancaster West into a model 21st century social housing estate, with £58 million committed by Kensington and Chelsea Council and central government.
Measures already under way include introducing smart thermostats, LED spotlights and electric vehicles; and switching to net-zero energy providers when homes become empty.
Separately, after 72 people were killed in the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, safety problems including similar combustible cladding were discovered on thousands of high-rise blocks. This week amendments to stop building owners passing on the costs of fixing defects were defeated in a vote in the House of Commons.