Marks & Spencer has been granted permission by the High Court to apply for a Judicial Review of the refusal for planning permission in regards to the redevelopment of its Marble Arch store in London.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, denied the retailer’s request to demolish the building in July 2023 following a lengthy two year legal battle surrounding the issue.
Marks & Spencer had initially been granted permission to knock down the historic location and replace it with a modernised set up, however after heightened scrutiny surrounding the plans came through from environmental groups, Gove got involved in the proceedings.
According to the British politician and various critics, the move could cause potential harm to nearby landmarks, including the Grade II-listed Selfridges building, while the department store had further been accused of failing to consider the reuse of existing resources.
Marks & Spencer said that it had applied for the review as it believed Gove had wrongly interpreted and applied planning policy “to justify his rejection” of the scheme “on the grounds of heritage and environmental concerns”.
In a statement, the company’s chief executive Stuart Machin reaffirmed the stance that refurbishment of the existing store was not possible, and that the approval of the review was the first step in overturning the “senseless decision”.
Machin added: “With our investment and the amazing plans we have to transform the site into a modern, sustainable building it remains bewildering that we are again having to go through this after two years of support and approvals. But we will do everything necessary to secure a better future at Marble Arch for our local customers and community.”