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24TH May 2023

Planning permission granted to University of Westminster to develop the UK’s most inclusive Centre for Employability and Enterprise


24TH May 2023


Higher Education


Planning permission has now been granted enabling the University of Westminster to refurbish and extend their 29 Marylebone Road site to create a new hub for enterprise and industry in the heart of London.

The nine-storey building is set to become the UK’s most inclusive Centre for Employability and Enterprise, with accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability at its heart, bridging the gap between education and the business world.  Located just across the road from the University’s Marylebone Campus, the building will bring employers, local residents and the University’s communities under one roof. Open to Westminster students, alumni and the wider community, the new centre will provide students with access to inspirational employer-led events and activities as well as training and networking opportunities for employers and local organisations.

The building, when complete, will feature creative spaces to support collaboration and engagement with local businesses as well as event and exhibition spaces to showcase student enterprise and achievements. It will also host an array of state-of-the-art training facilities, including a digital studio and maker space. 

Linsey Cole, Director of Business Engagement at the University of Westminster said: We are delighted that our plans to refurbish our building at 29 Marylebone Road have been approved by Westminster City Council. These new facilities will help our students to secure jobs and create enterprises through an exciting programme of employer-led events, workshops, and mentoring. The centre will also support Westminster’s businesses to secure new talent and provide new training opportunities for residents.  We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, local businesses and residents in the next phase of the building’s development.

The plans, designed by ADP Architecture from their London studio, were praised by the Planning Committee for their commitment to sustainability. The reuse and retrofit of the existing building was cited as a good example of retrofit first and avoids the carbon impact of a new build. The planned 69% reduction in carbon emissions was one of the highest proposed savings seen by the Committee. Greening, in an urban setting, has also been considered, with a green roof planned for the 8th floor, greening agreed for the 1st floor terrace and bird and bat boxes included in the design. Permission was granted unanimously by the Committee.

Dianna Fletcher, Director, ADP Architecture said: “We are delighted to have secured consent for this highly sustainable deep retrofit project. We have worked with the client and wider design team to resolve serious issues with the existing building around accessibility and escape.  The new Centre for Employability and Enterprise will be a welcoming and inspiring place that is accessible for all users. The new entrance and opened up ground floor will add interest and activity at pavement level where currently there is none. The replacement infill elevation on Luxborough Street will significantly enhance the streetscape; mediating successfully between the tall corner commercial building and the red brick, decorative mansion block adjacent.”

Jon Grantham MRTPI, Managing Director at LUC said: “We are delighted this exciting scheme has been granted planning permission. As the University’s planning consultant, LUC has worked closely with Westminster City Council and other stakeholders to ensure this successful outcome. The project will retain and transform a prominent building in central London, providing an innovative new educational facility for students and the local business community.”

The University has already secured a £5.8m grant from the Higher Education regulator Office for Students (OfS) to build innovative training spaces at 29 Marylebone Road, London.

Construction is expected to start later this year, with a planned opening date of Spring 2025.

The project is supported by the Baker Street Quarter, Westminster Business Council and BusinessLDN.

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