M&S gets key supporter for Marble Arch plan as Selfridges weighs in
The owners of nearby Oxford Street neighbour Selfridges have said they will “support and endorse” the redevelopment of the Marble Arch store, saying it has a role in “maintaining Oxford Street as the UK’s national shop window”, reported The Guardian newspaper.
Selfridges, which was bought by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Holding last month, has endorsed the M&S redevelopment plans as a two-week inquiry into the controversial proposals began Tuesday.
M&S and Selfridges are up against environmental campaigners and historic building supporters who argue that the 90-year-old landmark store should be refurbished rather than knocked down.
Selfridges’ support comes in a letter to the Planning Inspectorate overseeing the inquiry, which will put consideration of the carbon footprint of the redevelopment of a major building centre stage for the first time.
The former communities secretary Michael Gove announced a probe into the future of M&S’s store in June after opposition to the redevelopment plan, which had been approved by the local council and the Greater London Authority.
Around 5,000 people have signed a petition by the historic buildings campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage against the M&S proposal.
M&S has already argued that a refurbishment of three poorly-connected and low-ceilinged buildings that make up its Marble Arch store is unfeasible and would not achieve the kind of experience modern shoppers want.
It says the new development will use a quarter of the current building’s energy, achieving a payback on investment in the first 17 years of its 100+ years lifespan, and that 95% of the materials in its existing Marble Arch building will be recovered, recycled or reused.
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