Luton Airport access road will ‘completely destroy’ wildlife site
- Credit: Archant
Controversial plans have been approved for an extended access road into Luton Airport and a new business park on the site.
The proposals, which were put forward by London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), will involve the destruction of Wigmore Park and were opposed by residents, campaigners and local Liberal Democrats.
The development will consist of a new dual carriageway linking New Airport Way (the A1081) with a 235 acre business park. Called New Century Park, this will contain office space, warehousing and industrial units for mixed employment use, as well as a hotel and café area.
The 1.2 mile access road will start at a new junction proposed for the A1081, and result in the demolition of 15 commercial buildings within the airport.
Environmentalists are upset about the loss of Wigmore Park, which is a designated county wildlife site, and the increase in traffic and air pollution.
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David Oakley-Hill, of Luton Friends of the Earth, described the park as “a beautiful place and an asset of great community value”.
He said: “The county wildlife site will be completely destroyed. It’s our park.
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“Someone at the top of Luton Borough Council plans to trash it all. It’s a first step towards terminal two and double the flights.”
Lib Dem Wigmore Cllr Peter Chapman thanked residents for their “articulate and passionate support for their area” and criticised the council’s process.
He said: “The way the planning process is being used to look at the big issues in the east of Luton is absolutely wrong.
“Terminal two totally changes the plans being shown today for Wigmore Park.
“Traffic issues are always being looked at in isolation. It’s a total disgrace.”
While the proposal was initially approved by the borough council’s development and control committee, the application will now be referred to the Secretary of State for housing, communities and local government, who can call in the scheme.
If he decides not to, the scheme can be approved under delegated authority to the development control manager.
Planning officer David Gurtler told the committee: “The proposed development will create a significant number of jobs and promote economic growth in Luton and the wider region.”