High Court to hear significant statutory challenge against refusal of planning permission to demolish and rebuild M&S Oxford Street store

Marks and Spencer PLC v (1) Secretary State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (2) Westminster City Council (3) SAVE Britain’s Heritage 
13 Feb 2024

Public Law and Judicial Review, Planning and Environment

On 13 and 14 February 2024, the High Court will hear argument in Marks and Spencer PLC’s statutory challenge pursuant to s.288 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

M&S seek to quash the decision of the Secretary of State on 20 July 2023 to refuse planning permission for the demolition of three buildings and construction of a 9-storey mixed-use development including a new flagship store and offices on Oxford Street.

There are six grounds of challenge. The first relates to the interpretation and application of paragraph 152 of the NPPF. The second concerns the Secretary of State’s approach to whether there was an alternative to demolition of existing buildings, and in particular whether it was possible to refurbish the existing buildings. The third concerns the Secretary of State’s conclusions on public benefits. The fourth seeks to impugn the Secretary of State’s conclusion that the extent of harm to the vitality and viability of Oxford Street as a result of a refusal would be limited. The fifth alleges an error of fact as to the position on embodied carbon utilised by the proposal in comparison to refurbishment. The sixth challenges the Secretary of State’s approach to analysing the impact of the proposals upon the setting of Selfridges and the Stratford Place Conservation Area.

The claim has been designated as significant by the court.

Paul Shadarevian KC, Clare Parry and Jack Barber have been instructed by the Secretary of State.