Marks & Spencer Claims Planning Victory at High Court

A High Court challenge brought by Marks & Spencer (M&S) has resulted in victory for the retailer.

M&S contested a decision by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to turn down planning permission for the construction of a new nine-storey mixed office and retail store at the western end of Oxford Street, London. Planning for the construction project, which would involve demolishing and redeveloping the retailer's current store on the site, was refused by the Secretary of State despite having been approved by a government planning inspector.

After M&S launched legal proceedings, however, the Court found that, in making his decision, the Secretary of State had misinterpreted the National Planning Policy Framework and therefore erred in law. The Secretary of State had also failed to explain why he felt that refusal of planning permission would only cause 'limited' harm to London's West End, contrary to the opinion of the planning inspector. Having dismissed the various grounds for the refusal, the Court overturned the Secretary of State's decision.

The judgment was acknowledged by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which is now considering its next steps.