Housing plans for Leighton Buzzard garden centre site to be discussed at meeting tonight

Development would mean closure of garden centre and other businesses
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Plans to develop the Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre site are due to be discussed at a meeting of Leighton Linslade Town Council tonight (Wednesday).

Proposals to build 41 houses on the site would lead to the closure of the garden centre and other businesses including Tree of Life Café, Azure Hot Tubs, Cladwin’s Ltd, Move It Removal and Jacey’s Garden Services.

A petition, backed by South West Beds MP Andrew Sealous, received a huge response with a consultation period organised by Central Beds Council (CBC).

MP Andrew Selous with Iris Lee, owner of Leighton Buzzard Garden CentreMP Andrew Selous with Iris Lee, owner of Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre
MP Andrew Selous with Iris Lee, owner of Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre

The petition was launched after a revised application for 41 homes at the Hockliffe Road site, was submitted by developer, Thrive Homes along with Logic Land.

An earlier application for 44 homes was rejected last summer "by virtue of the cramped and poor layout" and "extension loss of natural features".

Iris Lee-Lo, owner of Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre and Tree of Life Cafe, said: "We reinstated our petition [against the application] on site at the garden centre. All the customers that have come in have been happy to put their names down.

"Closure would mean that we have nowhere to go and we would have to close down. We're asking the council to think about infrastructure and to support local businesses. We want to continue serving the community."

Mr Sealous said: “Leighton Buzzard only has one garden centre and we do not need another 41 houses in an area already surrounded by new house building. It would be ridiculous for people to have to travel miles outside of the town to buy plants. Many local people will greatly miss the café as well. The other four businesses on the site are also well established and would also have to find a new premises.

“Many people in the town take great pride in their gardens and so the garden centre is a very important local facility and I think it would be an outrage if we were to lose it and it would be very difficult to find another similar three-acre site for it to move to.

Thrive Homes had argued the site was "sold under the provision that the use of the land would change".

The town council’s recommendations will be submitted to Central Beds Council.