Dept W Wins Planning

17 December 2015

BuckleyGrayYeoman has won planning consent for the refurbishment of the former Wickhams Department Store on Mile End Road in London’s East End, on behalf of Resolution Property and Schroders REIM. The Tower Hamlets planning committee’s decision gives the go-ahead to refurbish and extend the 1927 Beaux Arts building to create Department W: a modern, workspace-led, mixed use development of nearly 120,000 sq ft. BuckleyGrayYeoman’s refurbishment will add to the £1.5m investment that has already been spent on the comprehensive refurbishment of the basement, ground and 1st floors of Department W to create a new community of tech businesses.


The plans will retain and conserve the Wickhams building’s famous ‘missing tooth’: the Spiegelhalter’s façade, which became the focus of a local conservation campaign when plans to refurbish the building were announced in early 2015. The Spiegelhalter’s façade will form the main entrance to Department W, with the void where the shop once stood forming a courtyard that will feature artwork to commemorate the unique story of the site.


BuckleyGrayYeoman’s refurbishment will extensively repair the facades, removing the accretions of pipework and other services that have been added piecemeal over the years. The designs extend the building upwards, adding a fourth storey on top of a third floor that will be extensively remodelled to rationalise floor levels and create a continuous office floor. The third and fourth floors will be stepped back from the existing storeys to reduce their visibility from the street.


On the ground floor the building’s three retail units will be upgraded, with new steel framed windows and discreet signage more in-keeping with the original design of the building. A leading independent coffee shop, Foxcroft and Ginger, has already taken space on the ground floor, adding to the appeal of the building.


Work on the refurbishment will begin in winter 2016 and is expected to complete in 2018.