High Court overturns Gove’s M&S decision

Redevleopment plans refused

The High Court has overturned Michael Gove’s decision to refuse controversial plans by Marks & Spencer’s to redevelop its flagship store at 458 Oxford Street, in London’s West End.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up over-rode his planning inspector’s recommendation to approve the retailer’s application to replace its existing art deco store with a taller, 10-storey retail and office block.

In his decision, issued last year, Gove said he was not convinced that M&S and its architects had thoroughly explored the alternatives to demolition of the existing building. He refused permission partly on the grounds that the scheme would not encourage the reuse of existing resources, including conversion of buildings.

However, Mrs Justice Lieven ruled in a High Court judgment on 1 March that Gove’s decision was ‘thoroughly confused’ and he had made an ‘obvious error’ by relying on London Plan policies, which relate to operational, rather than embodied, emissions.