Record Year for Retrofitting

City of London Corporation sees record year of carbon friendly ‘retrofitting’ amid COP28

The City of London Corporation has approved a record number of retrofit planning applications in the Square Mile in 2023, as senior officials attend COP28 to share with business and world leaders how it will reach its net-zero goals.


This year, there were 17 major retrofit planning applications approved by the City Corporation, which accounted for half of permissions granted across the whole of London. It will amount to tens of thousands of tons of carbon being saved in the City’s built environment sector, which is responsible for around 40% of its total emissions.


The retrofitting approach promotes material reuse and refurbishment of existing buildings, instead of full demolition and redevelopment of sites. On top this being a more carbon friendly method, it reduces the disruption caused by noise pollution and construction traffic.


Over the past 12 months, The City Corporation approved several exemplary retrofit schemes, including:

  • Cripplegate House, 1 Golden Lane – which will transform the Grade II Listed Building into an operationally net zero one, with additional Grade A office space, greening and public realm improvements, retention of the key heritage features and a new community space.
  • 100 New Bridge Street – providing new flexible retail space, along with the office space uplift, whilst retaining 80% of the original structure, as well as transforming the existing square on Apothecary Street into a new pocket park.
  • 8 - 12 New Bridge Street – which in addition to the eight-story office building, a new pub will replace St Bride’s Tavern, as well as a new art wall between Bridewell Place and Bride Lane and extra retail space at the north corner of the site.
  • 81 Newgate Street - will renovate a 1980s office building into a mixed-use development, avoiding three years of demolition and construction and a 46% carbon emissions reduction.
  • Woolgate Exchange, Basinghall Street – the large nine-storey office building would be retained and adapted to provide better quality office floorspace and also provide new amenity space, both inside and outside of the building, including urban greening and biodiverse green roofs to support health and wellbeing of the occupiers, alongside significant public realm works at ground level, for all.


Chairman of the City of London Corporation Planning and Transport Committee, Shravan Joshi, said: 

“We are delighted to see this abundance of retrofit planning applications and I would like to credit our planning officers for providing developers with the clear guidance needed to make them viable and to Committee Members for supporting policies which give investors confidence to further commit to the City of London. We are seeing a growing trend for office refurbishment to provide the much needed, high quality office space in the City and we want to continue to encourage this.

“In an area as dynamic and well-connected as the City there will always be the potential for new builds and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to planning, but we will increasingly support lower carbon alternatives and assist developers in putting carbon considerations front and centre when preparing an application.”