The ‘Design for Future Climate Phase 2 Programme: Dalby Square, Cliftonville’ project was an innovative project exploring how historic buildings in Thanet will react to climate change.
The project was instigated by the team running the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) schemes, with specialist consultants carrying out the investigations. It was 100% funded by the Technology Strategy Board.
The purpose of the project was to explore whether the current buildings in Cliftonville West, which mostly date from the late Victorian period, would still be ‘fit for purpose’ in the future. The focus of the project was Dalby Square in Cliftonville West and the project was in parallel with the Heritage Lottery Fund bid for a new THI scheme, also centred on Dalby Square.
The grant allowed Thanet District Council to commission a predictive, climate change scenarios model specially for Cliftonville in the year 2080. This was produced by the University of Exeter using their Prometheus data sets along with data from UK Climate Impact Projections.
Buildings of the type found in Cliftonville are of a style that is found in many British seaside towns and the findings of the project can be reproduced in other places. One of the undertakings made in the initial application was that the Council will use its elected Member Cabinet system to endorse the recommendations of the Design for Future Climate Change project.
Thanet District Council put together a multi-disciplinary team to study the buildings and gardens in Dalby Square against the projected climate scenario of Cliftonville in the year 2080. The team included an Architect, a Landscape Architect, a Quantity Surveyor, a Sustainable Design Consultant and a Regeneration Consultant. The Kent School of Architecture was also involved during the earlier stages of the programme.
A final report was made in March 2013, together with a summary report in June 2013 ‘Climate Change Adaptation: Retrofitting Communities’. Accompanying the main report are five appendices containing background information including: photographic surveys, drawings, cost tables, thermal modelling results, risk assessment documentation and a landscape strategy.
- The buildings by virtue of their construction and form are, to a considerable extent, ‘climate change ready’, more so than most modern buildings. This emphasises their sustainability, in addition to the advantage conferred on them by the embodied energy already contained within their structures.
- The central gardens in Dalby Square are already a climate change mitigating element and, by even simple adaptation, can provide shade, shelter and even modest food production which would greatly enhance the quality of life of local residents.
- The buildings in Dalby Square (and by extension, Cliftonville West) are easily adaptable to new uses – hotel, multi-generational house – but that given current property values in the area this is currently not possible without public subsidy.
- Simple measures of climate adaptation and energy and resource efficiency are currently cost effective and that more complex measures are not. However, the study provides a framework for future adaptations when resources are scarcer and energy more expensive.
- Measures need to be considered in terms of their multi-functionality – a measure can perform well across a range of criteria such that even if it doesn’t make initial financial sense, it can be justified on other grounds.