Plans by M&S to demolish its flagship site on Oxford Street have been rejected by Michael Gove.
The high street stalwart had previously received a green light from Westminster City Council to tear down its Marble Arch store and replace it with a revamped shop featuring a new cafe, offices and a gym.
However, the move received push back from campaigners, prompting the secretary of state for levelling up and housing to launch an inquiry.
In a 127-page document, Gove claimed today that public benefits did not outweigh the damage that would be done to landmarks on the street, including luxury department store Selfridges.
M&S’s carbon footprint and its failure to use existing buildings was also cited as a reason for the rejection.
M&S’ chief Stuart Machin described the decision as “utterly pathetic,” and said the refusal has left the retailer with “no choice but to review its future position on Oxford Street”.
Machin also took aim at the current state of the London shopping street.
“When 42 of the 269 shops on what should be our nation’s premier shopping street sit vacant, disregarding the expert opinion and approval of the appointed planning inspector and playing to the gallery by kiboshing the only retail-led regeneration proposal is a short-sighted act of self-sabotage by the secretary of state and its effects will be felt far beyond M&S and the West End,” he said.
In a lengthy statement, the boss also said that Oxford Street should not be the victim of “politics and a wilful disregard of the facts”, and accused Gove of taking an “anti-business approach”.