Marks & Spencer has threatened to close its Oxford Street flagship store unless it is allowed to demolish and rebuild it.

Major Retailer, who had difficult years, said it was “intolerable” to continue trading on the current Orchard House site, but the demolition plan had met with fierce opposition and a public inquiry was being held. Opponents “urged the company to renovate the existing buildings at 458 Oxford St., near Marble Arch, rather than replace them,” said BBC.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has raised concerns about the 40,000 tonnes of carbon that could be released when the buildings are bulldozed. Group petition Almost 5,000 signatures were collected against this scheme.

In opening statements to the inquiry, Russell Harris KC, representing M&S, insisted there were “no heritage reasons” why the three buildings on the site should not be demolished. He added that the retailer “will not be forced to trade” in the current buildings and that “it will not invest further in the site if its plans are rejected”, reports Retail newspaper.

He said the demolition would allow the retail chain to bring in a “new flagship store of high architectural quality” Oxford Streetwhich he described as “incompetent” and having the “smell, palpable, unmistakable expression of decay”, warning that “no other retailer” would take over the site.

However, a spokesman for SAVE told the hearing that the retailer’s “threat” to leave the site “if they don’t get their way” was “not a constructive position from a retailer committed to the future of Oxford Street”.

The results of the investigation could have wider implications. High streets across the country “need to be modernized as the climate crisis intensifies,” he said. Guardianthe debate over whether problem buildings should be rehabilitated or rehabilitated will “only intensify”.