SAVE urges re-think on historic M&S flagship store demolition plans

23rd November 2021

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has called on Westminster councillors to refuse plans for the total demolition of Marks and Spencer’s historic former flagship store near Marble Arch. Cllrs are set to decide on the plans at a meeting this evening.

Under the proposals, designed by architects Pilbrow + Partners, the 1929 art deco landmark would be bulldozed along with two extension buildings to be replaced with a monolithic new retail and office building. Clearing the site for the new building would require the demolition of a combined floor area of 35,000 sqm and the embodied carbon of the existing structure. All this comes in the face of the recent COP26 Climate Summit and Westminster City Council’s own pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. 

In our letter to planners and committee members, we have outlined our strong opposition to the scheme on heritage grounds and our view that proposed demolition of this landmark building would carry unsustainable carbons costs and contravene of the council’s own net zero targets.

The letter states: “The proposal involves the total loss of a landmark non-designated heritage asset which will cause substantial and unjustified harm to the historic character of Oxford Street and is unsustainable in terms of embodied carbon cost.”

Click here to view our letter.

Speaking to the Evening Standard earlier today, SAVE director Henrietta Billings said:The M&S building is a handsome landmark from the 1930s that takes its cue from its neighbour Selfridges - Oxford Street’s grandest monument. Westminster City Council has set its own commendably high net zero targets, yet this massive demolition and new build scheme blasts a colossal hole in meeting them.

Marks and Spencer must seize this opportunity to boost their green credentials and keep this part of London’s heritage in the process. Built to a high specification, this prestigious building is ready for adaptation and repurposing to suit a variety of uses, and capable of lasting another 100 years.”

Click here for full details on the committee agenda and the link to watch the live meeting which begins at 6.30pm this evening.



1. For more information contact Ben Oakley, conservation officer at SAVE Britain's Heritage – 020 7253 3500.

2. SAVE Britain's Heritageis a strong, independent voice in conservation that has been fighting for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses since 1975. We stand apart from other organisations by bringing together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses.