New parking for rail station not viable unless time limit is removed

Developers with permission for a temporary car park on industrial land opposite Leighton Buzzard railway station want to remove a planning condition which would limit the operation to five years.

GHW Developments Ltd was granted planning permission in December 2014 for a 106-space car park on the Station Road site that it owns.

But at the time Central Beds Council indicated the land was ultimately suitable for housing and limited the car park use until December 2019.

Now GHW want to ditch the condition, as well as another stipulation which asked the company to submit a “remediation strategy” before any building work started due to the assumption that there could be contamination on the land.

In the planning application to get the conditions removed, the developer’s agent, RC Shrimplin, states: “The amount of work and investment that would be needed would not be justified for a car park that would be in existence for less than five years after construction.

“At the same time it is becoming clearer that there is a pressing demand for parking at the station, where the only adjacent car parks are those that appear to be under the control of Network Rail.”

The agent points to Central Beds Council’s intention to create a “transport hub” at the station. “No specific scheme has been prepared, though a need to provide more parking spaces has been indentified, especially in the context of proposed town expansions that have been planned for Leighton-Linslade.”

A appraisal carried out for GHW on the site’s potential contamination, adds: “Where the site is to be redevelopment as car parking, it is assumed that the site would be covered in hardstanding and therefore there would be no pathway present between any source of contamination and end users of the site, and thus no pollutant linkage.”