M&S Marble Arch: Refurbishment or New Build?

14 04 2022

We’re delighted that the GLA, having reviewed carefully all the sustainability aspects of the scheme, have endorsed our proposals for a new building for M&S at 458 Oxford Street. These proposals replace three compromised structures with an exceptional new building that will deliver operational carbon reductions over its 120 year design life. These savings will amply repay the initial embodied carbon investment.

Refurbishment is the right answer in many circumstances, but the quality of the existing buildings must be a consideration in informing the right approach. We’ve delivered great refurbishment schemes like 127 Kensington High Street that adapt and reuse existing structures. At Marble Arch this would however have been the wrong call. The retention of the three buildings would have precluded M&S’ future occupation, failed to address the abject quality of the existing public realm and led to the creation of poor quality and energy inefficient space. Oxford Street, at a time of great challenge, would be the poorer as a result.

Both planning authorities charged with determining the scheme, Westminster and the GLA, share our absolute commitment to environmental sustainability. They have reviewed with great care our proposals and the work undertaken by Arups to assess the sustainability impacts. They find no fault in the detail and support our conclusions that in this circumstance new build is the right approach to adopt.

Simon Sturgis was commissioned by SAVE to prepare a report outlining the case for refurbishment. We believe his conclusions are flawed and our response is set out at the link here.