Luton Borough Council seeks judicial review over Houghton Regis development decision

Luton Town Hall
Luton Town Hall

A bitter dispute over a housing development has seen Luton Borough Council take legal action against Central Beds Council, Luton News can confirm.

On June 2 an ‘urban extension’ of Houghton Regis, which included up to 5,150 homes and 202,500 sq metres of space for commercial use, was approved by CBC.

In making the decision LBC claims that CBC ‘failed’ to co-operate with its neighbouring authority and has started proceedings for a judicial review.

The disagreement stems from Luton’s need for additional homes, with limited land within the authority’s boundaries to extend into.

Instead it has called on neighbouring authorities to assist with new housing and last year told North Hertfordshire District Council that it “must accept the need to help meet some of Luton’s unmet housing need”.

Within LBC’s submission CBC is accused of “failure to consider, adequately or at all, alternative sites or strategies” and “misdirection as to the application site’s planning pedigree”.

LBC also questions the approved application’s impact on green belt land.

Nigel Young, CBC’s executive member for strategic planning, remained defiant over the disagreement.

He said: “It’s the prerogative of any local authority to prepare a case for judicial review.

“This tactic, is not only lucrative for expensive planning lawyers, it is also used to delay and frustrate growth.

“It doesn’t mean however that such cases will hold any water when they come to be reviewed– as demonstrated by Luton’s unsuccessful challenge to the Secretary of State on this very development a few weeks ago.

“We are entirely confident that we will be able to robustly challenge the arguments put forward by Luton but for now, we are concentrating on preparing our submission and will be focusing on this rather than commenting on hypothetical arguments.”