Marks and Spencer CEO Stuart Machin said the retailer has “amazing plans” to transform its iconic Arch store into a “modern, sustainable building” as its holds firm on its demolition plans.
His comments followed the news that the High Court had given M&S the green light to challenge the government, after it rejected the retailer’s initial plans to demolish and rebuild the flagship store due to environmental concerns.
In July, housing and levelling up secretary Michael Gove rejected the plans due to concerns over the environmental impact of demolishing and replacing older buildings. Shortly afterwards, M&S launched a legal challenge against the government’s decision to reject its proposal.
Machin said the High Court’s decision is the “first step in the lengthy process of overturning the government’s senseless decision to reject our Marble Arch proposal”.
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Sustainability at the core of M&S debate
At the time, Gove’s decision to reject M&S plans was welcomed by conservation group Save Britain’s Heritage, who said demolishing the building would release 4,000 tonnes of embodied carbon.
“It challenges our laissez faire attitude to demolition and loss as simply being necessary for economic growth and invites us to consider the townscape and environmental consequences,” said Save Britain’s Heritage director Henrietta Billings.
“In the increasingly urgent ‘retrofit’ debate the judgement will stand as an example of how decisions relating to the built environment must be consistent with the reality of the climate emergency.”
Despite the High Court’s ruling, Save Britain Heritage has confirmed it will “continue to defend the claim.”