M&S's plan to demolish and refurb London store

Marks & Spencer’s scheme to demolish its shop on London’s Oxford Street and build new is stirring the debate over retrofitting and refurbishing vs demolition and rebuilding.

M&S says the existing store is no longer suitable as it has been created over the years from three separate buildings and contains asbestos. Any significant redevelopment would involve creating additional carbon emissions without delivering as many benefits as a new building, the retailer added, saying the planned development is set to use 25% less energy than the existing site. However, campaigners argue the project would emit 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while a report by architect and net zero expert Simon Sturgis argued the M&S proposals did not comply with the government’s net zero commitments or the Greater London Authority’s policy to prioritise retrofits.

Steve Tompkins, a co-founder of Architects Declare, said: “[The store] is a handsome piece of urban architecture, made with high-quality durable materials. It is a successful component of the wider streetscape and a familiar London landmark. For these reasons, the building appears to be an entirely suitable candidate for deep retrofitting.” MP Michael Gove has ordered a public inquiry into the plans.

Read more at bit.ly/MandSrebuild For more on this subject, see page 32.

Image credit | Alamy

 

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