Somers Town Future Neighbourhood 2030

About the project

Future Neighbourhoods 2030 (FN 2030) is a £7.7 million multi-year programme. In 2021, the GLA invited London boroughs, Business Improvement Districts and other local partnerships to contribute to a green recovery, by supporting neighbourhoods to become exemplar models of sustainability and innovation.

The vision for a Future Neighbourhood is one that embraces a green recovery and commits to tackling the climate and ecological emergencies, whilst addressing London’s health and social inequalities. This will mean Future Neighbourhoods where Londoners are working together to lower emissions, clean up their air, improve their local green spaces, reduce their waste and transform their homes.

In March 2022, the GLA awarded Somers Town funding as one of two areas to pilot this approach due to the projects proposed successfully meeting the programme’s themes, the Mayor’s Green New Deal aims, and a commitment to work with communities to create a Future Neighbourhood that meets local needs.

Objectives and goals

The FN 2030 aims to deliver against the Green Deal mission objectives, these include:

  • Improve the natural environment and air quality, tackle climate and ecological emergencies
  • Promote and incentivise activities that sustain and grow London’s green economy
  • Prioritise interventions reducing health inequalities and social injustices
  • Engage Londoners and businesses in their journey to become a zero pollution and greener city

In delivering this, the programme focuses on the following themes:

  • Retrofitting of homes, commercial and public buildings
  • Creating a decarbonised, smart and integrated energy system
  • Improving air quality and creating zero emission zones
  • Climate adapted, resilient and green neighbourhoods
  • Zero waste, circular economy

About Somers Town

Somers Town lies within the London Borough of Camden and is located between St Pancras International and Euston train stations directly to the north of the Euston Road.

It is one of the most deprived areas in Camden, with four of the five Lower Super Output Areas in the neighbourhood amongst the 20% most deprived in the UK. 15.5% of residents live in fuel poverty. 73% of households in the area are deprived based on at least one of the four dimensions of deprivation which are employment, education, health and disability, and household overcrowding.

The housing stock is a blend of pre-1919 terraced housing, post-war housing estates and mixed tenure new build including a new 20-storey residential tower.  The majority of residents in the area are in social rented accommodation (73%) compared to the Camden average of 33.7%.  

Over 550 homes (on Council owned estates) in the area, the new primary school and the community facilities are connected to a Council owned district energy network called Somers Town Energy.  Somers Town Energy is led by a Combined Heat and Power unit that also supplies the Francis Crick Institute with electricity.  The district energy infrastructure provides a strong opportunity to rapidly decarbonise connected buildings at scale.

Economically, the neighbourhood sits in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter innovation district an area containing world leading academic and research institutions and the European headquarters of both Google and Meta. The area is also home to world class institutions including the British Library and the Francis Crick Institute

Somers Town is exposed to climate hazards, which, combined with the levels of deprivation, make the neighbourhood particularly vulnerable to climate change. The level of climate risk as defined by the GLA’s Climate Risk tool is High. This includes high levels of heat and flood risk. The area has a small local park but below average access to green space (0.6 hectares/1000 residents).


The FN 2030 is delivered in close partnership with local organisations, business, the local authority and most importantly, the local community. Lead partners include:

  • Somers Town Community Association
  • Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum and
  • Camden Council

Early achievements/Impacts

The programme is halfway through delivery with its third and last phase due to be completed by end of 2025. Some early achievements/impacts have been identified however, we will be undertaking significant evaluation work during this last phase to identify learning and more importantly, replicable best practices that can be shared across London and beyond.

A Local sustainability Strategy (Somers Town Area-based strategy 2023-2030)

  • A long-term plan for Somers Town that identifies further work that needs to happen locally to combat climate change up to 2030.
  • Human rights and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were used to frame the strategy.
  • The strategy is going to be built into the Somers Town Neighbourhood Plan as a next step to ensure it can influence local interventions and policies.

Have Your Say Today – Somers Town Area-based Strategy 2023-2030 – Somers Town – Future Neighbourhoods 2030 (

Housing retrofit.

  • 50 homes to be retrofitted with internal wall insulation as part of this trial. Under 40 have been retrofitted so far.
  • Over 200 homes have received energy advice and support from a residents-led energy saving club.
  • A Camden based Retrofit Credit service has been set up Camden Retrofit Credits – Camden Climate Alliance

Greening projects

Gardening activities and green space improvements have taken place in 7 different estates, these include: Hadstock House, Walker House, Monica Shaw, Phoenix Court, St Francis, St Antony’s and Chalton House. Activities include bringing back to life unused beds and green patches to grow culturally appropriate food and wildlife friendly areas as well as introducing new growing beds to maximise growing space. The growing beds have helped residents to connect, share and develop skills with one another. Climate resilience green infrastructure has also been installed as part of this initiative.

Green Mobility Hubs

The Somers Town Green Mobility Hub scheme has been developed to create some of Camden’s (and the UK’s) first Green Mobility Hubs, combining a range of shared and environmentally sustainable mobility options at 6 locations across Somers Town. The hubs offer will be tailored to the demand of the specific area they will serve and can include shared bikes car clubs, electric vehicle charging points, cargo bikes and e-scooters, as well as other community features such as cycle parking, seating and planting or play areas, water fountains and other amenities.

Other early achievements include:

  • Over 4,000 people have been reached during the life of the project to date. 0ver 85% of those involved are from minority communities
  • More than 10 green apprenticeships on green skills delivered
  • Over 2,000 hours of volunteering have been dedicated to the projects
  • 300 preloved bikes made roadworthy. A 90% increase in physical activity among those engaging with local cycling initiatives
  • 24 young people completed bike maintenance AQA 
  • 15 short-term employment opportunities created

Next steps and lessons learnt

In addition to delivering a portfolio of over 20 projects during phase three (March 24-Nov 25), we will be focusing on the identification of best practices and build on the legacy of the project to ensure there is continuity of the work to deliver against the aims of the Somers Town Area Based Strategy.

Some early lessons include:

  • Community engagement from the very early stages of project conceptualisation is key for the successful delivery and adoption of any intervention.
  • Funders delivery timescales not always married with the delivery capacity or local organisations.
  • Sustainability needs to be made relevant to communities where other basic needs take priority. Talking about the climate crisis needs to be translated into practical actions that also link to current economic and social crisis.
  • Building positive and sustainable synergic alliances and partnerships is essential to achieve enhanced community outcomes, however, this requires times, skills and dedication.

Photos, links, and references


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