Communities secretary Michael Gove is expected to order a pause on Marks & Spencer’s plans to knock down its Marble Arch flagship so the plan can be scrutinised further.

Rendering of Marks & Spencer's Marble Arch redevelopment plan

M&S said its plans are ‘strongly supported by the local community’

Marks & Spencer’s redevelopment of the property, which has prompted controversy, faces an Article 31 holding order, the Evening Standard reported. That means it cannot receive planning permission until the proposal has been reviewed by the government.

M&S hopes to replace its existing shop, ‘the Arch’, with a smaller store, office space and other facilities such as a gym. The plans faced criticism on environmental grounds and were earlier looked at by London mayor Sadiq Khan who concluded that no intervention by him was necessary.

However, Gove will also now consider the scheme and decide whether to call in the application or leave it up to Westminster councillors to decide.

A Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson told the Standard that M&S’ 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 have 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 who concluded that the new build offered significant sustainability advantages over a refurbishment.”

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