Marks & Spencer under fire over plan to demolish flagship Marble Arch store

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Under its plans, the retailer will occupy two and a half floors rather than the five currently used, with office space filling the upper floors.  The new space is not due to be completed until 2027.

Geoff Barraclough, shadow cabinet member for business and planning – and the only councillor of six who voted against the scheme – believes Orchard House complements the Grade II Selfridges building nearby. 

“The new building is the reverse: it’s overbearing and overshadows Selfridges, and it’s very large,” he told other councillors during the vote, according to Architects’ Journal. 

Critics have also lambasted M&S’ sustainability credentials. It will be responsible for 39,500 tonnes of carbon while building the new version, according to the chain’s own assessment, which would require 2.4m trees to offset.

M&S claims that 90pc of materials from the existing site will be reused in the construction of the new building, and once finished will have a higher sustainability rating than the current one. 

“It’s not a glib thing that we’re saying,” says one source. 

The company was a trailblazer in 2015 when it pledged to become ‘the world’s most sustainable business’ and has since reiterated its commitment to the environment as the climate crisis intensifies. 

Sacha Berendji, group property and store development director, has said the move will “positively contribute to our net zero targets over the long term with strong sustainability credentials, which is another step forward in the transformation of our store estate to be fit for the future”. 

It is understood it will take about 16 years for the building to make up for the initial damage to the environment.

“That’s great news for the 2040s but no use tackling the climate emergency today,” argues MP Barraclough. 

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