M&S defends Marble Arch store plans saying renovation will positively impact the environment

Marks & Spencer defends its plans for a new flagship store in Marble Arch amid environmental concerns
If approved, the new site at 458 Oxford Street will feature a new M&S store alongside office space and a gym.
// Marks & Spencer defends its plans for a new flagship store in Marble Arch amid environmental concerns
// The new building is set to be among the top 10% best-performing buildings in London

Marks & Spencer has defended its plans to demolish its new flagship store in London’s Marble Arch as the “right response to the climate emergency” after it was forced to halt the redevelopment amid environmental concerns.

The department store’s plan to replace the existing historic building on Oxford Street with a totally new one had been cleared by the mayor of London despite widespread criticism by activists.

However last month, Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) stepped in and halted the plans pending further scrutiny following the release of a report on the potential carbon footprint of demolishing the building which raised concerns.


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M&S group property, store development and technology director Sacha Berendji has now claimed the renovation plans will instead “positively impact the environment”.

Berendji told The Grocer that bulldozing the current site, which is made up of three separate buildings “with poor quality structures and asbestos challenges”, was the most efficient way to tackle its current carbon impact.

“We asked leading independent environmental consultants to make a detailed assessment of the carbon impact across the whole lifecycle of the proposed new building,” he said.

He explained that “much like buying an electric car – although there is an initial impact in its manufacture – the long-term benefits far outweigh those of a petrol vehicle.”

He said the new building would be “amongst the top 10% best-performing buildings in London” and use less than a quarter of the energy required by the existing ones.

Berendji said the existing store was also a “confusing warren of dense structures and misaligned floors”, which was not the environment in which the modern customer wanted to shop.

He said modernising the “old” existing store estate was “at the heart” of the retailer’s transformation strategy.

The Grocer understands that the case is still being considered by the DLUHC and stated that the recent change in administration at Westminster Council from a Conservative to a Labour leadership may also affect the redevelopment plans.

If approved, the new site at 458 Oxford Street will feature a new M&S store alongside office space and a gym.

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