Westminster Council has granted permission for the 1930s building occupied by M&S next to Selfridges to be demolished and replaced with a modern glass and steel building.
However, there’s a campaign to save the building, and it’s pending a decision at the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport to grant the building a listing status as a heritage asset based on a report from Historic England. However, last night at the planning meeting, it was suggested that the DCMS has indicated that the building is unlikely to be listed.
The council’s approval also requires a final sign-off from the Mayor of London.
M&S’s largest retail store has been on its site next to Selfridges since 1930, although originally it was a much smaller shop than it is today.
The M&S store is actually made up of three separate buildings that were joined internally to make one shop. The Edwardian classic frontage, Orchard House on the corner, a 1980s red brick building, Neale House, and around the side, a last 1960s era building on Orchard Street.
The grand imposing Orchard House, built in 1929-30 was once the main training centre for Lyons teashops, with the company occupying the 3rd-5th floors of the building from 1930 to 1967.
Marks and Spencer’s plans, now approved by Westminster Council by a 5 to 1 vote at the planning committee, will see the site cleared and replaced by a new 10-storey mixed use building that’s about double the size of the current buildings, but with the shop floor space occupied by M&S roughly halving from the current size.
The redevelopment plans are controversial not just because of the demolition of the 1930s building, but also the impact of the modern building next to neighbouring Selfridges. However, as there’s a large glass and steel building opposite M&S already, the area is already starting to have the appearance of an office estate with a bit of retail on the ground floors.
The decision to redevelop the M&S site follows on from previous department store changes, with the former Debenhams store being redeveloped into a mix of shops and offices, and the same happening to the House of Fraser store, which could also see House of Fraser move out of Oxford Street entirely.