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Marks & Spencer's London flagship saved from demolition

The UK Secretary of State Michael Gove rejected the application.
British retailer Marks & Spencer failed to agree to the demolition of the historic Art Deco building on Oxford Street in London. The UK Secretary of State Michael Gove rejected the application.

Marks and Spencer - Depositphotos

The Department of Housing and Communities published a 127-page decision report on the initiative to demolish the building. Marks&Spencer had planned to build a new building in its place, designed by Pilbrow & Partners.

The ministry calculated that demolishing the historic building would generate nearly 40,000 tons of embodied carbon. In addition, the decision notes that the demolition would alter the facade of Selfridges and the appearance of the new building would stand out too much from the general urban environment.

"The height and appearance of the cornice of the proposed development would be prominent and distracting from Selfridge's facade, especially when compared with the deferential appearance of Orchard House."

The 1930s building, Orchard House, sits on the corner of Oxford Street opposite the iconic Selfridges department store. Retailer Marks & Spencer has announced its intention to demolish it at the end of 2021, building a 10-story store and office building. A petition has since been gathered demanding the project be scrapped. In 2022, the retail chain fought environmental campaigns, as a result of which the London authorities became interested in the situation.

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