Marks and Spencer condemns government inquiry into Marble Arch store development plans Business News

Angry Marks and Spencer directors have launched an extraordinary attack on Michael Gove, saying they are “baffled and disappointed” by his decision to review a plan to rebuild its flagship store in London’s Marble Arch.

The retailer accused the upgrade secretary of “political grandstanding” in calling for plans to demolish the Art Deco building and replace it with a small store, offices and a gym.

M&S’s plans have already come under scrutiny, despite the approval of Westminster City Council.

An independent report by architect Simon Sturgis said the plans were “absolutely insane” and demolition would result in a huge carbon footprint.

M&S Director of Property, Technology and Development Sacha Berendji said: “After two years of working with Westminster City Council, the GLA and the local businesses and community of residents who supported the development At every stage we are baffled and disappointed by Michael Gove’s baseless decision to bring in the proposed redevelopment of our Marble Arch site.

The British retailer has accused Michael Gove of ‘political grandstanding’ over the decision to review its renovation

(Mark and Spencer)

“The Secretary of State has blocked the only retail-focused regeneration in the whole of Oxford Street in a building which has been refused listing status because of its poor design quality and, although safe, cannot be retrofitted by redevelopment as it is three separate buildings containing asbestos. .”

Mr Berendji added that Mr Gove was more concerned with ‘shops peddling counterfeit goods’ than the ‘regeneration of the nation’s favorite high street’. He also addressed concerns over the carbon impact of the renovation saying the new building will deliver “significant sustainability benefits” in the long term.

“For a government expected to be focused on the upgrading agenda, calling in this significant investment in one of our most iconic shopping centers will have a chilling effect on regeneration programs across the country at a time when many many city centers are being left behind and the property market is increasingly precarious,” said Mr. Berendji.

He added: “While this political grandstanding continues, we cannot continue to create a better place to shop for our customers, a better place to work for our colleagues and a better public realm for the community in a store. which would use less than a quarter of the energy required by existing buildings.

Leveling Minister Michael Gove has backed a review of the refurbishment

(British Parliament)

Campaigners from SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Architect’s Journal have urged Mr Gove to launch a public inquiry into the scheme in a letter signed by the biggest names in the industry. The letter claimed that the historic building’s bulldozer would “pump almost 40,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere”.

He also said: ‘We believe the overall strategy for this site is wrong, with development which is an environmental waste, destroys an elegant and significant inter-war building and, according to many, negatively affects Oxford Street and its wider West End neighborhood. We should adapt the building, not destroy it.

A spokesman for the Department of Upgrading and Communities said: ‘This is a disappointing and misleading statement by M&S. Appeal decisions are made in accordance with established policy. It is right that a project of such importance should be examined by the independent planning inspectorate and the ministers.

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This notice was published: 2022-06-21 15:41:13

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