Retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has won a legal battle against the British government’s decision to block the redevelopment of its flagship Marble Arch store in central London.  

The High Court ruled the government’s decision in this regard to be unlawful.   

This latest ruling comes after the High Court’s approval in November 2023 of the retailer’s application for a judicial review of the government’s decision to block the rebuilding of the store.  

The retailer plans to reconstruct the historic Art Deco building, which dates back to 1929, but was denied permission by Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove on heritage and environmental grounds. 

Following a hearing in February 2024, Judge Nathalie Lieven found that Gove had misapplied the planning policy and overturned his decision, Reuters has reported. 

The judge stated that Michael Gove did not provide sufficient reasons why refusing approval would not lead to the wider detriment of London’s West End, despite the retailer’s statement that it would leave the location if it could not redevelop the outlet.  

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M&S operations director Sacha Berendji said: “Today’s judgment couldn’t be clearer. The court has agreed with our arguments on five out of the six counts we brought forward and ruled that the Secretary of State’s decision to block the redevelopment of our Marble Arch store was unlawful.  

“The result has been a long, unnecessary and costly delay to the only retail-led regeneration on Oxford Street which would deliver one of London’s greenest buildings, create thousands of new jobs and rejuvenate the capital’s premier shopping district. 

“The Secretary of State now has the power to unlock the wide-ranging benefits of this significant investment and send a clear message to UK and global business that the government supports sustainable growth and the regeneration of our towns and cities.” 

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson told Reuters that it acknowledges the ruling and is considering the next moves.