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Luton Council pursues judicial review of neighbouring council’s link road approval

Luton Council is to bring a judicial review of Central Bedfordshire Council’s decision to approve an application for a new link road after it says local plan examination inspectors’ letters calling the plan into question were not properly considered.

The planning application, which was made and received by Central Bedfordshire Council in March 2019, is for a new single and dual carriageway road linking the M1 and the A6 near Luton.

Luton decided last week (February 13) to pursue a judicial review against Central Bedfordshire in order to delay the decision to enable the local plan inspectors to view the scheme and make sure Central Bedfordshire Council has fully considered the potential impact of the proposed development on Luton residents and businesses.

Portfolio holder for Planning, Labour councillor Paul Castleman said: “We have made four objections to the planning application and spoke at the planning committee meetings. We wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government requesting that they call-in the M1-A6 planning application for his determination, however the Secretary of State declined to call in the application.

“Central Bedfordshire Local Plan Examination Inspectors questioned whether a link road was needed. The Inspectors’ letters have not been properly considered in determining the planning application. Therefore, we have no option other than to proceed with a JR”.

In response to Luton’s plans, Conservative-run Central Bedfordshire Council said it was “disappointing that Luton Borough Council is intending to challenge the decision-making process for the M1-A6.”

The council added: “This action will result in significant legal bills having to be paid from public funds.

“It will also jeopardise significant government investment in an important piece of infrastructure for our area.

“The benefits that this link road will bring, to residents of both Luton and Central Bedfordshire, are considerable. It will relieve congestion and reduce HGVs from other routes. It will spur business growth and jobs.

"And it will as support much needed new homes, including homes specifically to meet Luton’s unmet need.”

The application for permission for judicial review has to be made within six weeks from the date of the decision. In this case, the application would need to be made by 19 February 2020.

Adam Carey

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