Luton Borough Council has confirmed it has started proceedings for a judicial review of neighbouring local authority Central Bedfordshire Council’s decision to approve a major urban extension to the north of Houghton Regis. It comprises approximately 5,000 homes and employment uses including considerable volumes of retail and retail distribution floor space.
The borough council has identified ten separate grounds of challenge. Luton has complained that the urban extension has undermined its own local plan by predetermining a number of issues including the alteration of Green Belt boundaries.
Luton has also argued that Central Bedfordshire has “failed in its duty to cooperate with its neighbouring authority, especially given Luton’s very significant need for new housing and especially affordable homes which it cannot deliver within its own boundaries”.
The Houghton Regis urban extension involves proposals for up to 5,150 homes and 202,500 square metres of space for commercial, industrial, retail and other uses on 262 hectares of farmland.
Luton considers itself to be part of a single housing market with much of central Bedfordshire and part of North Hertfordshire.
Luton has argued that neighbouring planning authorities should accept the need to help meet some of Luton’s unmet housing need, given the tight land constraints the borough council faces.