The Fairhazel Co-operative

Retrofit study for Fairhazel Housing Cooperative• Completed October 2022


Fairhazel Cooperative approached Power Up North London (PUNL) early in 2021 and asked for help with thinking through how they could retrofit their estate. Fairhazel is the oldest fully mutual housing co-op in London and was set up in 1975 with the principal purpose of providing affordable rental accommodation to its members. The Cooperative now includes 130 homes within the South Hampstead conservation area in Camden, North London. The flats, built at the end of the 19th century, are located across a series of mansion blocks set around a group of three communal gardens.   There are no cavity walls and wooden sash windows are used throughout with much use of bay windows and corner turrets.  They form part of a picturesque grouping with neighbouring properties.  

Funding & delivery

PUNL visited a number of flats in FC and worked with a team of residents to understand how best to support them on their retrofit journey.   Flats here range in size from studios to 4-5 bed apartments and are located between the lower ground and up to roof level. Flats are predominantly dual aspect with large windows and very generous floor to ceiling heights. Some include features like open fireplaces, external balconies and decorative cornices.   

It was clear that interventions to improve fabric, such as more energy-efficient windows, internal wall insulation or underfloor insulation would be expensive.  The challenges here were getting to a consensus on what residents want to do, how much they would be able to contribute to the retrofit and sequencing of the retrofit.  PUNL recommended that FH raise grant funding to undertake a feasibility study that would help them plan a course of action.  FH’s residents got their Management Committee to support the feasibility study which was part-funded by a grant from the London Community Energy Fund and partly from funds contributed by FH.  PUNL prepared the tender document and conducted the tender for the feasibility study.  PUNL also prepared a lessons learnt report so Etude won the tender and were appointed in February 2022.  Their feasibility report was submitted in September 2022.

Benefits & impact

The feasibility study provided an Estate Retrofit Strategy that presented the required changes to ensure maximum impact from a cost and carbon perspective. It also responded to concerns about phasing and future capital funding. It provided a route to net zero for Fairhazel to be implemented over the coming decade.

The environment group were struggling to communicate the results of this study within the cooperative and the maintenance programme replacing gas boilers and minimal upgrades continue. PUNL is still in contact with Fairhazel and will see whether there is the opportunity to get the pilot study up and running, from which can be used to demonstrate the deep retrofit approach.