Hatters’ plans can still ‘be determined by end of year’ after LBC orders more work for Newlands Park

An image of Newlands Park
An image of Newlands Park

Luton Borough Council has announced more work for 2020 Developments’ consultants over plans for a mixed-use scheme off Junction 10 of the M1.

In a letter to consultants Indigo Planning, LBC stated that the environmental statement submitted for Newlands Park required further information in seven of its chapters, as well as a non-technical summary for lay readers.

The letter stated: “It is the view of the local planning authority that the requested information is required in order to enable a proper assessment of the likely environmental impacts of the proposal and the appropriate mitigation that may be required.”

A separate document established that as Newlands Park is not an ‘enabling application’ in planning terms, much of the financial information submitted to LBC was not required.

2020 Developments has generally described Newlands as a facilitating development. A Section 106 is also due to be drafted by the council ahead of a committee hearing.

The council says the timescale for determining the plans – first submitted in August 2016 – hinges on how quickly the Hatters can provide the updated documents.

Despite the additional work, LTFC and 2020 Developments’ chief executive Gary Sweet told Luton News that both applications are still on track to be determined by the end of the year.

He said: “One of the challenges of having an application under heavy public scrutiny is that the time it takes to run that process means regulations change over that period.”

The main objector to Newlands Park has been the owners of The Mall, Capital & Regional (C&R).

A company spokesman said: “Capital & Regional remains supportive of 2020’s Power Court application.

“We have previously offered to help to support 2020’s Power Court application and we take this opportunity to re-affirm that offer once again.

“With the council’s new detailed requests requiring 2020 to thoroughly review and change its Newlands application very significantly, we feel this is a key moment when all sides should take a strategic pause and look once again at this proposal.

“Our view remains that the Newlands application has no chance of achieving planning permission.”