C&R lawyers demand 'unlawful' planning permission granted for Luton Town's Newlands Park site be 'quashed'

An artists impression of Power Court
An artists impression of Power Court

The law firm representing the Mall’s owners, Capital & Regional, have labelled the decision by Luton Council to grant Luton Town planning permission for a mixed use scheme at Newlands Park as ‘unlawful’ and demanded that the Hatters’ plans are ‘quashed’.

In a letter to Mr Clive Inwards, Team Leader Strategic Applications at the Council, Eversheds Sutherland, who are representing C&R, confirmed they will apply to the High Court for a Judicial Review if the Council doesn't review the original outcome.

It read: “The Claimants consider that the decision-making process resulting in the grant of the Planning Permission by the Council was flawed in that incorrect advice was given to members on certain matters, and the advice to members did not contemplate all matters that they were legally required to consider.

“In addition, the members took into account an irrelevant consideration in reaching its decision. This has rendered the grant of Planning Permission unlawful.

“If the defendant does not agree to consent to judgement we will issue an application for judicial review without further notice.”

There are three issues in particular that C&R believe the decision was ‘legally flawed’, these being: "A serious omission in the assessment of the impact of the Development on affected designated heritage assets.

"An incorrect approach to the application of the sequential test found in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and flawed advice to members in relation to the linkage between the application for the Planning Permission and the application for development on the Power Court site.”

The letter went on to state: “As Luton Borough Council is aware from the numerous representations made over a long period of time on behalf of our client, various concerns have been raised regarding the Council’s approach to the assessment and determination of the application resulting in the grant of the Planning Permission.

“It is our view that the Council’s determination of the application was flawed and that the grant of Planning Permission was unlawful.

“In these circumstances the Planning Permission should be quashed.”

The Hatters received planning permission for a new 17,500 stadium at Power Court and a mixed use scheme in Newlands Park (which will help finance the new ground) earlier this year, and recently finalised the Section 106 agreement needed to start building at both sites.

Town chief executive Gary Sweet was well aware though that there this objection might take place, as he had said: “We thank you for your patience in getting us to this stage; patience which will still be required as we ride any challenges that may come our way over the next six weeks and as we then move on to updating and refreshing our schemes since they were conceived four years ago.”