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Retail park protest hailed ‘a success’

Protest against Leighton Buzzard retail park, May 2014

Protest against Leighton Buzzard retail park, May 2014

Campaigners who travelled by rail to London this week to demonstrate against a planned retail park for Leighton Buzzard say they had a successful day.

The group included retailers, residents, South Beds Friends of the Earth representatives and Rev Grant Fellows, from All Saints Church.

They were supported and seen off from Leighton Buzzard station by David Prior of LB First and town councillor Alan Brandham.

Campaigner 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”, and is appealing to the Church to reconsider its plans.

The demonstration took place close to Westminster Abbey, near the Church of England’s headquarters.

She said: “We went down to London to protest against the Church Commissioners of the Church of England for taking a minimum of a million pounds a year from the town centre, if not far more, by building a replica town centre on the edge of town with no clothes shops.

“Moreover the shops in the retail park will be the same type and the same size or smaller than existing Leighton Buzzard shops.”

At the protest they also were joined by Rev Dr AE Harvey who was former sub dean of Westminster Abbey, who said: “The Christian Faith is all about mutual service and responsibility in a community.

“The mission of the Church of England is to be a model of a mutually dependent and caring community. When I see a Christian agency such as the Church of England apparently abandoning this mission in favour of commercial interests I feel bound to protest.”

The Church of England has said the organisation would not be commenting due to ongoing legal proceedings. Ms Harvey is seeking a Judicial Review against Central Beds Council’s decision to give planning permission for the retail park last year.

There will be a petition in the local shops asking the Church Commissioners of the Church of England to stop the development.

 

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