Marks & Spencer Group Plc has launched a legal challenge against the UK government’s decision to reject a plan for a new store in Marble Arch, central London where the retailer has had a presence for nearly a century.
(Bloomberg) — Marks & Spencer Group Plc has launched a legal challenge against the UK government’s decision to reject a plan for a new store in Marble Arch, central London where the retailer has had a presence for nearly a century.
The clothing and food retailer lost government backing last month for a proposal to demolish its flagship art deco store and rebuild a modern replacement. At the time M&S said the decision was flawed and it could reconsider its future on London’s Oxford Street.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, rejected the plan due to concerns about harm to nearby protected landmarks, including the neighboring Selfridges department store and conservation areas. The carbon footprint and the failure to use existing resources and convert the existing buildings were also cited in the decision.
“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,” M&S Operations Director Sacha Berendji said Thursday.
M&S said there is a “misguided agenda” against its redevelopment proposal and the company will challenge it “to the fullest extent possible.”
Chief Executive Officer Stuart Machin previously called Gove’s decision “utterly pathetic” while Chairman Archie Norman wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that it was “not just a blow for M&S, but for Oxford street and inner city regeneration across the UK.”
Oxford Street is struggling to regain footfall following the pandemic with high-profile plots such as defunct department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser remaining shut and a proliferation of American candy stores. Swedish furniture giant Ikea recently delayed opening its new store in the former Topshop flagship in Oxford Circus to Autumn 2024 from the end of this year.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.