Michael Gove temporarily blocks Marks and Spencer flagship demolition

Michael Gove Credit: Jay Allen/Crown Copyright flickr

MICHAEL GOVE temporarily blocks Marks and Spencer flagship demolition after appeal from heritage organisation.

Many people were disappointed when they learned that Marks and Spencer planned to demolish its flagship store on Oxford Street but there is a hitch.

The company wants to replace its Edwardian store next to Selfridges with a 10-storey building, which will include an office space and a gym above a smaller shop and a new pedestrian arcade.

In January, a special report written by sustainability and carbon expert Simon Sturgis, and commissioned by the SAVE Britain’s Heritage group was sent to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Michael Gove.

The report opposed the demolition of the Art Deco building on both heritage and sustainability grounds and the group asked that the Gove take the decision away from the Westminster Council planning department and allow a public enquiry.

On April 20, Michael Gove confirmed that using an Article 31 holding direction, he had blocked the granting of planning permission until such time as he and the government had a chance to inspect the plans.

This means that he will eventually decide whether the Council can decide upon the feasibility of the application or whether his office will make the final decision.

An M&S spokesperson told Retail Sector: “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 who concluded that the new build offered significant sustainability advantages over a refurbishment.”

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