Fight to save Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre continues as town council objects to plans

The owners of Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre and Blossom Cafe have expressed their "relief" after the town council objected to plans for redevelopment at the site.

By Jo Gravett
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:21 pm

A petition is currently running to 'save' the business, after the area on which it sits was sold to developers Logic Land and Thrive Homes, who have proposed building 44 new homes and, as the LBO understands, "relocating" the garden centre ideally.

The developers have previously stated that the site will “provide much needed homes” for Central Bedfordshire, and “develop on a brownfield site that requires no green space to be lost.”

However, the proposal has already been met with opposition from Leighton-Linslade Town Council, which at a meeting of its Planning and Transport Committee on April 20, voted to object to the proposal.

Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre and Blossom Cafe

Residents now have only days to voice their opinions to Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) before comments close on May 3.

Iris Lee-Lo, wife of owner Anthony Lo, told the LBO: "I feel relieved that the points I raised in objection have been felt by the residents, so I'm touched, very touched, and overwhelmed as well.

"We have had a lot of support and are still continuing with the in-store and online petitions.

"The in-store petition already has over 3,000 signatures."

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The town council objected to the application on three grounds, arguing that it would result in the loss of a “valuable community asset", and force those who rely on it to travel greater distances “contrary to sustainability principles".

It also noted that CBC should resist the loss of an employment generating use and stated that the proposal would result in the loss of established mature boundary trees.

Meanwhile, Iris informed the LBO that she had submitted her objection on behalf of the garden centre via the council's online portal, as well as a written letter.

She added: "Everyone is quite concerned. They don't want to see us go. It's the loss of an amenity.

"It's been overwhelming to see how many residents have come forward."

The LBO understands the garden centre still has a number of years left on its lease, and that the developers’ intention is to work with the business so it can be relocated to a new place and doesn’t sit amongst the housing.

However, Iris has said that the places the business could relocate to are “limited”.

The developers' planning statement says: "The proposal seeks planning permission for the demolition of the existing garden centre buildings and redevelopment of the site to provide 44 dwellings.

"The site is in a ‘very sustainable location’, with good access to public transport.

"The scheme would include a mix of housing types and sizes.

"Planting and landscaping would be enhanced within the site, including the provision of tree lined streets and species rich hedge."

However, a town council spokesman added: "Should the determining authority be minded to grant permission, the town council seeks assurance that the established businesses by virtue of their operation would not be compromised through the introduction of residential development.

"Should the principal authority be minded to grant permission, the Town Council would seek assurance that necessary obligations by way of a S106 Agreement be secured to include community facilities."

To view and comment on the application, visit the CBC website with the code: CB/22/01086/FULL