Marks & Spencer will take the battle to raze its Oxford Street store to the High Court after Michael Gove blocked its plans.
The retailer was yesterday granted permission for a judicial review in the latest instalment of the row between M&S chief executive Stuart Machin and the Levelling Up Secretary.
In July, Gove denied the retailer permission to demolish the 1929 art deco building near Marble Arch in London and build a much larger ten-storey retail and office block.
Legal challenge: In July, Michael Gove denied M&S permission to raze its Oxford Street building and construct a much larger ten-storey retail and office block
M&S said it was taking legal action as it believes Gove wrongly interpreted and applied planning policy to justify his decision on heritage and environmental grounds.
Machin said: ‘We have been clear from the very start that the refurbishment of the existing store was not possible, so this is only the first step in the lengthy process of overturning the Government’s senseless decision to reject our Marble Arch proposal – the only retail-led regeneration on Oxford Street.’
Gove’s decision ‘remains bewildering’ after M&S’s plan had support from local authorities, neighbouring businesses and inspectors, Machin added.
Last month Machin labelled the decision ‘utterly pathetic’. He accused Gove of taking ‘an anti-business approach, choking off growth and denying Oxford Street hundreds of thousands of new quality jobs’.
Some of Britain’s leading architects, including London Eye designer Julia Barfield and Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud, opposed the plan.
The Government said it did not comment on ongoing legal matters.