M&S has launched a legal challenge against the government’s decision to reject its Marble Arch store proposal.
The retailer’s plans would have seen the Art Deco building on London’s Oxford Street demolished in a bid to redevelop the “aged and labyrinthian site”, as described by CEO Stuart Machin.
Speaking of the decision to launch a legal challenge, M&S operations director, Sacha Berendji, said: “We have done this because we believe the secretary of state wrongly interpreted and applied planning policy, to justify his rejection of our scheme on grounds of heritage and environmental concerns.”
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In July, Michael Gove rejected plans to redevelop the site over concerns that public benefits would not outweigh the harm to nearby landmarks and conservation areas.
They were also blocked as a result of the scheme’s carbon footprint and its failure to reuse existing sources, such as converting the current buildings.
However, at time time, Machin said that basing the decision on the grounds of sustainability was “nonesensical” as the proposed building “would have ranked in the top 1% of the entire city’s most sustainable buildings”.
He explained that the store would have used less than a quarter of the energy of the existing structure, reduced water consumption by over half and delivered a carbon payback within 11 years of construction.
Berendji said that M&S had been “forced” to take legal action “to overcome a misguided agenda” against the scheme, adding that the retailer “will be challenging this to the fullest extent possible”.