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M&S closer to demolition of London store after court win

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 01 Mar 2024, 10:57 PM
Tan KW
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Marks & Spencer Group plc has won a legal challenge against the UK government, moving it one step closer to being allowed to demolish a century-old, Art-Deco store near Marble Arch in central London and build a modern replacement.
 
A London judge ruled on Friday that the government had misinterpreted planning laws and as a result its decision to block the redevelopment was unlawful. The judge agreed with five of the six arguments brought by M&S lawyers.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, had rejected the M&S’s redevelopment plan due to concerns about harm to nearby protected landmarks, including the neighbouring Selfridges department store. A preservation campaign for the store, which was completed in 1925, had the backing of British actors, journalists, historians and best-selling writer Bill Bryson.

London’s Oxford Street, home to the M&S flagship store, is struggling to regain footfall following the pandemic with high-profile sites of now defunct department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser remaining shut, and instead 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 this autumn  from the end of last year. 

“Today’s judgment couldn’t be clearer,” M&S operations director Sacha Berendji said in a statement. “The result has been a long, unnecessary and costly delay to the only retail-led regeneration on Oxford Street.”

The government may yet appeal Friday’s decision, to try and stop the demolition of the iconic building. “We acknowledge the judgement and are considering our next steps,” said a government spokesperson.

 


  - Bloomberg

 

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