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M&S blasts Gove’s decision to block Marble Arch store redevelopment 


M&S Marble Arch store
If approved, the new site at 458 Oxford Street will feature a new M&S store alongside office space and a gym.
// M&S group property, store development, and technology director Sacha Berendji said he was “bewildered and disappointed” by Michael Gove’s decision to intervene in the redevelopment of its Marble Arch store
// Berendji warned that “political grandstanding” could hinder regeneration across the country

M&S has hit back at housing minister Michael Gove’s decision to intervene in its redevelopment plans for its Marble Arch store.  

The retailer’s group property, store development and technology director Sacha Berendji said he was “bewildered and disappointed, said it was “bewildered and disappointed” that Gove had chosen to call a public inquiry that will assess the merits and detriments of the scheme.

The department store’s proposal to flatten its flagship 1929 Art Deco store on Oxford Street and replace it with a much larger 10-storey retail and office block was supported last November by Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority and local business and residents. 

Berendji blasted Gove’s decision and warned that “political grandstanding” would have a “chilling effect for regeneration programmes across the country” which flies in the face of the government’s levelling-up agenda. 

Berendji said: “After two years of working with Westminster City Council, the GLA and the local business and resident community, which has supported the development at every stage, we are bewildered and disappointed at Michael Gove’s baseless decision to call in the proposed redevelopment of our Marble Arch site. 

“The Secretary of State has blocked the only retail-led regeneration in the whole of Oxford Street in a building which was refused listed status due to its low design quality and, while safe, cannot be modernised through refitting as it’s three separate buildings containing asbestos. 

“Twenty percent of units on Oxford Street lay vacant and the Secretary of State appears to prefer a proliferation of stores hawking counterfeit goods to a gold-standard retail-led regeneration of the nation’s favourite high street.” 

A spokesman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “This is a disappointing and misleading statement from M&S. 

‘Call-in decisions are made in line with established policy. 

“It is right that a project of such significance should be considered by the independent planning inspectorate and ministers.” 


M&S scheme was designed to regenerate the west end of Oxford Street and comes as the famous shopping street falls on hard times.

Just this week when the American candy stores, which have rapidly spread on the street have come under fire for selling counterfeit products. 

Last week Westminster City Council seized a haul of counterfeit products totalling £100,000 from three unnamed stores.

The New West End Company has flagged that “high levels of investment and development” are needed in order for Oxford Street to prosper. 

New West End Company chife operating officer Dee Corsi said: “It is vital that the council and businesses redouble efforts to work together to deliver the long-awaited public realm investment, and ensure progressive planning and licencing policies are in place to enable businesses to respond to changing customer trends, by delivering innovative and future proof buildings that are fit for purpose for a revived, dynamic high street.” 

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