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Government blocks M&S's Oxford Street flagship demolition plans

Jeremy Lim
21 April 2022

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has blocked Marks & Spencer's plans to demolish and rebuild its Oxford Street flagship store.

The Westminster council was told to suspend the application to replace the 1930's Edwardian landmark with a new 10-storey building.

The order, known as an Article 31 holding direction, stops the local authority from granting planning permission for the controversial redevelopment until the Government has fully scrutinised the project.

Last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan reviewed and agreed plans for the British retailer to go ahead with its redevelopment despite environmental concerns.

The review comes after Greater London Authority (GLA) carbon adviser Simon Sturgis wrote a report arguing that the project is inconsistent with the UK Government's "net zero" legislation and the GLA's policies.

Commenting on Gove's intervention, a spokesperson from M&S said: "The plans we have submitted to build a new, vibrant M&S store fit for modern retail and sustainable office space has been approved at every stage and strongly supported by the local community as a key part of the regeneration of an iconic part of London.

"As well as attracting new investment and footfall, a detailed assessment on the carbon impact across the whole lifecycle of the building was undertaken by independent experts (Arup) who concluded that the new build offered significant sustainability advantages over a refurbishment."

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