Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team was established following the Grenfell tragedy to provide a suite of management functions including tenancy management, community development and repairs and to deliver a multi-million-pound refurbishment of the 800 homes on the estate.
Following the Grenfell Tragedy in June 2017, local and central government committed to delivering a model 21st Century estate for the residents of Lancaster West. Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team was established following the tragedy to provide a suite of management functions including tenancy management, community development and repairs and to deliver a multi-million-pound refurbishment of the 800 homes on the estate. A key aim in modernising the estate is to be net-zero by 2030.
In 2021 Notting Dale ward - where Lancaster West sits - was granted funding as part of the Mayor of London’s Future Neighbourhoods Fund to develop the area into an eco-neighbourhood. A key aspect of this programme is decarbonisation.
The Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team aim to contribute to this goal by:
- retrofitting all of the stock on the estate
- decarbonising energy and creating a green energy network
- upskilling staff and employing local people in green industries
- improving the circular economy aspects of the estate
- aiming for all operations to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
The Lancaster West decarbonisation work will take five to seven years to complete due to the complexity of the site, the scale of the work, and the logistics of delivering inner city decarbonisation.
The team received funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the council, to deliver its plans to decarbonise the estate and from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to deliver a Future Neighbourhood strategy for Notting Dale ward, where Lancaster West estate is located.
Although the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team is employed by the council, it has its own director and budget, meaning it has the semi-autonomy to deliver improvement quickly and effectively.
The key performance indicators will consider resident engagement levels, building performance, heat demand, and heat loss. For instance, the Lancaster West team is measuring the fabric performance of its buildings using Enerphit as the agreed standard and has piloted this approach in developing the council’s first low-energy home at Verity Close These measurements will set targets for the decarbonisation of the estate and managing the quality of the works delivered by contractors. The following outcomes were shared:
The team will decarbonise the estate by retrofitting the homes on the estate, and by establishing a renewable energy heat network supplier. The retrofit of homes will help to reduce demand by around 25 per cent.
In addition to housing, the team will seek to decarbonise other assets on the estate, with the aim of connecting them to a single heat network that is being developed for the estate.
The heat network will use air source heat pumps, powered by roof-mounted solar PVs and green electricity. Heat interface units are provided within each home and smart stats will help control the energy usage within a home.
A local energy company Notting Dale Heat, co-designed with residents, was established to provide energy to Lancaster West.
The team is also in the process of developing a dashboard to track the estate’s carbon emissions, which will be measured annually.
Every aspect of the project is built in co-design with the residents. Levels of engagement with the refurbishment of the estate have been generally high. Some engagement activity has seen over 80 per cent of households engaged and generally, there have been high levels of interest over the period of engagement.
- Internal – bringing all stakeholders from the council, government and residents on board.
- Financial – will be a common issue when working in decarbonisation. The team overcame this challenge through grant funding and internal resources, however, they’re aware that the level of funding they received will be challenging to obtain elsewhere
- Skills and competencies – There is a lack of necessary skills and competencies for delivering decarbonisation. Large-scale interventions are needed to build these skills.
The Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team indicates it’s important to not enforce solutions on residents but to instead work with the residents to come up with a solution. Residents are engaged through lots of workshops. A series of workshops were held in 2019 to understand resident priorities for their blocks. Further workshops have been held since then to progress through the design and procurement.
Working at a local level has allowed the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team to drive the council’s decarbonisation agenda. This project demonstrates that a localised approach yields more results and engagement than a centralised approach (where staff do not have much involvement on the ground), as delivered by local authorities.
The Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team noted that decarbonisation at a borough-wide level may not be effective, due to the needs and challenges of the varied demographics and stock. Having a neighbourhood-focused approach to delivering services over a small geographic area leads to better outcomes and better stakeholder engagement. To deliver effective decarbonisation agendas, local authorities need to adopt a localised neighbourhood approach and need to coalesce all their resources around this approach.