Great Portland Estates’ recent announcement of development plans will bring more misery for residents and businesses in Fitzrovia with the news that a site in Wells Street will be demolished and redeveloped, while a less environmentally-damaging refurbishment is planned for a site on Oxford Street.

Office and retail building.
Oxford House on the corner of Oxford Street and Newman Street. GPE have announced plans to refurbish the building and increase the retail floorspace.

GPE said in their half year results for 2014: “At Tasman House, 59/63 Wells Street, W1, we expect to submit a planning application by the end of the year to replace a tired 1950’s building with 38,100 sq ft of new office and retail space.” The use of the term “replace” suggests the entire building will be demolished.

Front of building.
Tasman House, Wells Street. GPE say the former magistrate’s court will be “replaced”.

At Oxford House, on the corner of Oxford Street and Newman Street, “we expect to submit a planning application in the first quarter of 2015 for a 91,200 sq ft major refurbishment scheme of the mixed-use property, incorporating a significant increase in the retail space”.

The planning applications will be reviewed by Westminster City Council. Fitzrovia’s community groups will also be consulted on the planning applications and pressing for community benefits.

There is a huge amount of construction activity in and around Fitzrovia at the moment, causing traffic problems, noise and dust. And more demolition and construction is planned. The next print issue of Fitzrovia News out on Tuesday 2 December has a special feature mapping out current and planned development sites.