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.

Proposed development (c) M&S / Pilbrow & Partners

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.

M&S Oxford Street (c) Google Street View

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.

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18 comments
  1. Aileen Gammon says:

    Ianvisits, I am appalled that yet another iconic building is to go. There will be nothing left but modern rubbish – that building is part of the history of Oxford Street.

    • Keith Burt says:

      You cannot save all of the old buildings, otherwise nothing would change. You would have shops and hotels moving to other areas and it would look bad for the area to be all boarded up.

  2. Stephen Blanchard says:

    …shameful…but Retail is changing unfortunately …

  3. Mervyn Drage says:

    Oh dear another London icon bites the dust

  4. Anthony Hyde says:

    It is shameful for Westminster Council to allow the demolition of yet another London landmark. Everywhere you go now you see the loss of London’s heritage, replaced with uninteresting glass and steel monstrosities, and what about the environmental impact this over development is having.
    Shame on you M&S!!!

  5. Charles Barlow says:

    Wrong!!!!!

  6. Guy Brewer says:

    i thought you meant Pantheon at first. This is the one down the road which has a rather nice MS engraved in its sandstone facade

  7. Glen says:

    Just because someone has fond memories of it doesn’t necessarily make it a landmark worth saving.

  8. Nikki says:

    I do hope someone puts a stop to this fine building being destroyed and replaced by the awful replacement.

  9. Christopher George says:

    I agree that cities can’t remain preserved in aspic, but must change to meet the needs of the times. The problem lies in the woeful quality of the buildings that replace the much loved and interesting structures that are lost.
    An old city such as London has seen many changes over the centuries, some very necessary and good, many alas crass and ill considered. A balance has to be struck between preserving the best of the past, with new building meeting the practical and aesthetic needs and aspirations of present and future generations.

  10. Chris Rogers says:

    Aesthetic protests about the M&S buildings are rather misguided – they are bog-standard for their eras and have no real merit in themselves, nor do they have much group value as a run of facades (Primrak retained a better set at the far east end). As for their history, many of the Oxford St stores are not in their original buildings, having rebuilt or moved, like John Lewis or Debenhams.

  11. Christopher George. says:

    I would have to agree in part to the above comment. Would this apply to all classical buildings which were “bog standard” in their time I wonder. What happens though when all the “bog standard” buildings are gone——–?
    The Victorians were also derided for their pomposity of building style yet now these buildings are cherished. We cannot afford to bulldoze the past so ruthlessly yet erect more mediocre buildings in their place.

  12. Sue Merrick says:

    London will look like any other city anywhere in the world, just like most of the shops are the same in any shopping centre, anywhere in the UK or abroad.
    Please do not get me wrong, I do like a lot of modern architecture, but can we not keep different areas for the old & new. We have all the new around Docklands, & (sadly in some cases) the East End. But can’t we keep Westminster and other areas with well designed, well kept buildings for future generations to see, just as we love to see Art Deco buildings here and abroad.

  13. Andrew Inglis says:

    London is surprisingly good at architectural vandalism . A new building in Oxford Street should be attractive as well as being of the highest architectural standards . London thrives on having many quirky buildings — not dreary global architecture .

  14. Simon Mitchell says:

    The RIBA has recently published a report stating that buildings should be re-purposed rather than replaced so that the embodied energy in materials and infrastructure is not wasted so doubling up on the carbon footprint. This completely flies in the face of that and is far from environmentally viable. Re-use, recycle, repurpose….

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