The new store at Cheshire Oaks, the third sustainable learning store to be built, is also the second largest M&S store in the country and is the company’s flagship for sustainability, carbon efficiency, biodiversity and material innovation, with the use of timber, both for construction and for fuel, as a central concept of the design.
In January 2007, Marks and Spencer (M&S) launched Plan A – a commitment to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials and help its customers lead healthier lifestyles. As part of this plan, the company started to develop a series of ‘sustainable learning’ stores to trial new technologies; the aim, through post occupancy evaluation, is to build a strong bank of knowledge and experience of sustainable building practice.
The new store at Cheshire Oaks, the third sustainable learning store to be built, is also the second largest M&S store in the country and is the company’s flagship for sustainability, carbon efficiency, biodiversity and material innovation, with the use of timber, both for construction and for fuel, as a central concept of the design. The building has been designed to be 35 per cent more carbon efficient and 3 per cent more energy efficient than a peer store and has received a BREEAM Excellent certification and full BM TRADA FSC® Project Certification.
Cheshire Oaks, in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, is a new retail site in a densely populated area with 600 homes near the store and thriving businesses located immediately around it. The client involved the local community during planning, design and construction, which generated much local interest.
BREEAM requirements for the improvement of the quality of flora and fauna on the site challenged the design team to deliver a net gain in biodiversity. Improvements to landscaping include the planting of 228 new trees, while existing hedgerows have been enhanced with further planting to generate greater biodiversity by providing wildlife habitats; this should create a very attractive setting for M&S customers in the future. The trees themselves will potentially absorb some 800 tonnes of CO2 by the time they reach maturity. New habitats have been created for a number of species, including 14,000 newts, toads and frogs.
The store is served by 958 car parking spaces, with electric car charging points and shelters for 100 bicycles. Improved transport connections, including shuttle buses, cycle paths and footpaths have been installed to encourage sustainable travel. The car park elevation has a green wall planting system.