A campaigner who is fighting a one-woman legal battle against a new retail park is holding a protest in London on Wednesday (May 28).
Victoria Harvey has called the Church of England – which owns the land developers Claymore want to use to build the Grovebury Road retail park in Leighton Buzzard – “a disgrace”.
Victoria started legal proceedings after Central Beds Council granted planning permission for the £15m development last year – and now she is appealing to the Church to reconsider its plans. She has taken her battle to the Court of Appeal after London’s Royal Courts of Justice rejected her Judicial Review application.
She said: “This retail park will destroy our town centre and our community – and the Church of England is supposed to be the greatest defender and supporter of local communities and local life.
“I’m shocked that such an organisation could involve itself in something like this which is clearly only about commercial gain.”
Victoria is calling on anyone who wants to lend support to her campaign to join her at outside Leighton Buzzard train station at 10am tomorrow.
Protesters will catch the 10.33am train to London Euston and will then travel to Westminster where the protest will take place.
Victoria added: “We will be based close to Westminster Abbey, near the Church of England’s headquarters so our voice can be heard.
“It is particularly appropriate as it wasn’t long ago that the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby publicly supported Mary Portas’ campaign to save our high streets – yet now Church land could be used for this out-of-town retail park.”
Tom Shattock, who owns the TK Furniture store in Hockliffe Street is also backing the campaign and hopes to be among the protesters.
He said: “This retail park could suck the life out of Leighton Buzzard town centre – it would be so damaging for the area.
Anyone who would like to attend tomorrow or who wants to find out more can contact Victoria on 07815 817108.
A spokesman for the Church of England said the organisation would not be commenting due to ongoing legal proceedings.