Council objects to new retail park plan

A plan to potentially give Leighton Buzzard a second retail park has been greeted with dismay from the town council.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 6th June 2016, 12:46 pm
Updated Monday, 6th June 2016, 1:57 pm
Claymore retail park for Leighton Buzzard has planning approval already
Claymore retail park for Leighton Buzzard has planning approval already

EDS Holdings has submitted the proposals for shopping facilities at the Camden site, off Grovebury Road.

Already the Claymore Group has planning approval to bring a retail park to Grovebury Road. And last week the company confirmed it was still on track – despite planning permission being granted back in November 2013.

On EDS’s Camden site there are currently warehouses and commercial/industrial buildings in poor condition.

Their outline application seeks six non-food retail units totalling 6,227sq metres, and five trade counter/motorist centre units totalling 1,121sq metres.

But chairman of the town council’s planning committee, councillor Mark Freeman, told the LBO that the council would be telling Central Beds Council – who will ultimately determine if the plan gets passed – that it objects to the EDS scheme.

Councillor Freeman said: “We are objecting strongly to it because it is industrial land and we are opposed to the loss of it.

“It is also detrimental to the well being of the town centre. We have got one outstanding consent already [Claymore’s retail park] and one is enough.

“The town centre is not in a strong enough state to cope with two.”

However a report for EDS by consultants Indigo states the proposed retail park would stop residents travelling significant distances for a range of comparison goods which the park would offer.

The report adds the town centre is “healthy, vital and viable” with a good diversity of uses, low vacancy rates despite significant expenditure leakage to other retail parks and Milton Keynes.

It adds that even if the Claymore park comes to fruition, the EDS scheme – which will provide 80-90 jobs – will not have a “significant adverse impact” on the town centre.

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