Spanning from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street is in the heart of London’s West End, in the City of Westminster. It’s officially Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around 300 shops and half a million visitors every day.
Oxford Street has a fascinating history, as it was originally a Roman road (Via Trinobantina) linking Essex and Hampshire. During the Middle Ages, it was named Tyburn Road.
It was in the 18th century that it was renamed Oxford Road, followed by Oxford Street. Prior to this, it had been a residential street but by the 19th century it started to change in character, with retail and commercial premises being built.
Britain’s first department stores opened there in the early 20th century – including Selfridges, HMV and John Lewis. Unlike surrounding shopping areas, it has always retained an element of street trading alongside the prestigious retail stores.
During World War II, Oxford Street suffered heavy damage from bombing and many long-standing retail stores including John Lewis were totally destroyed. They were rebuilt from scratch after the war.
Despite heavy competition from other retail centres, it has retained its popularity and the annual Christmas lights switch-on has been a popular highlight since 1959.
The 100 Club
The 100 Club has been located at 100 Oxford Street since 1942, at which time it was known as Feldman Swing Club. It was a popular meeting place during World War II for American GIs, who introduced the jitterbug. Top American jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman have played there, as have blues legends Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters.
After it became The 100 Club in 1964, it kept pace with the music trends including the UK beat scene and punk from the early ’70s into the ’80s – the Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Oasis have performed there. It continues to be one of the UK’s top live music venues today.
As Oxford Street continues to move forward, it’s important that any new developments adhere to Westminster City Council’s legal noise limits. To this end, Sound Planning has carried out environmental noise assessments at three properties.
354–358 Oxford Street
A Noise Impact Assessment was completed at 354–358 Oxford Street, where redevelopment plans proposed retail use (Class A1) at part-basement, ground and first floors and 11 residential units (Class C3) on the second to fifth floors, with installation of a rooftop plant with associated noise mitigation.
Westminster City Council required comprehensive noise and acoustic report assessments at each of the proposed residential façades, including the likely effect of the retail development on the residential unit above.
Sound Planning’s assessment monitored ambient noise levels over a 48-hour period from a position representative of the nearest noise-sensitive façades. The concluding report suggested a noise mitigation strategy, including:
- Acoustic enclosures around the retail section
- An acoustic screen around the residential development
- An AA303 attenuator for the LUL chillers
- Specific glazing to provide extra protection for dwellings overlooking Oxford Street, where the highest ambient noise occurred
153 Oxford Street
Sound Planning was required to carry out an environmental noise assessment for six external condenser units for a retail outlet’s air conditioning. A preliminary noise report (acoustic and vibration) is required with a planning application, where a proposed development might affect noise-sensitive properties.
The assessment concluded that the proposed plant should be no closer than 29 metres from the nearest noise-sensitive window to comply with Westminster’s planning regulations. The nearest windows overlooking the proposed external condenser units were commercial and there were no residential windows in the vicinity.
The predicted noise levels at the nearest commercial windows was approximately 10dB(A) below the existing background noise level. Subsequently, Sound Planning recommended that the proposed external condenser units should be approved.
447 Oxford Street
Another project completed by Sound Planning was the design and construction of an acoustic enclosure at retail premises at 447 Oxford Street – to ensure compliance with noise regulations put in place by Westminster City Council.
The project included two 50mm acoustic panels, on each of the right and left elevations; 120mm acoustic louvres containing an 80mm air gap, with Runcorn knobs and an acoustic louvred access panel to the front elevation; a 50mm acoustic panel to the rear panel; and 220mm splitters with a 120mm air gap.
The retail store houses Dyson’s first UK demonstration store. Following similar concepts in Paris, Jakarta and Tokyo, customers can view products on plinths in a gallery-like space, with technical information on large video walls.
Please contact Sound Planning for further information on our bespoke design and supply solutions for noise control products and sound enclosures.