The demolition of Marks & Spencer’s flagship Oxford Street store has been put on hold following a government direction for further scrutiny.
Just days after the mayor of London Sadiq Khan gave Westminster Council approval to go ahead, Communities Secretary Michael Gove called for the project to be paused.
The order, known as an Article 31 holding direction, means the local authority cannot grant planning permission for the controversial redevelopment until the government has scrutinised the plans.
M&S wants to replace its Edwardian store with a 10-storey building, which will include office space and a gym above a smaller shop alongside improvements to the surrounding streetscape.
However concerns have been made over the carbon footprint of the project.
A report published by Sturgis, commissioned by Save Britain’s Heritage, warned that the environmental impact would be so great it would violate the London Plan - City Hall’s guidance for new developments and planning applications.
A spokesman for the department of levelling up, housing and communities said the application will be “assessed against published policy on calling-in applications and a decision will be issued in due course”.
An M&S spokesperson said: “The plans we have submitted to build a new, vibrant M&S store fit for modern retail and sustainable office space has been approved at every stage and strongly supported by the local community as a key part of the regeneration of an iconic part of London.
“As well as attracting new investment and footfall, a detailed assessment on the carbon impact across the whole lifecycle of the building was undertaken by independent experts [Arup] who concluded that the new build offered significant sustainability advantages over a refurbishment.”