But there’s £600,000 for the airport!
Luton Borough Council (LBC), who intend to destroy one of Luton’s largest parks for massive Airport expansion, are now proposing a 167 year plan to offer Legal Protection to most remaining pockets of Open Space in the town including its Parks.
LBC have claimed they are so hard up that they can only afford to legally protect one Open Space each year, as the cost of Legal Protection is estimated at £5,000.
This is the Council that has just found £600,000 from under the bed, to support an application by the company running the airport to increase passenger numbers by an additional one million each year to 19m. This is despite LBC’s own application to nearly double the size of the airport from 18 million to 32 million that will go before the government in 2023. The question is, why are they doing it when £600,000 would pay for 120 of the town’s 167 Open Spaces to be protected in a single year?
Working with its Council partner, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) put in a planning application to the Council, for an extra million passengers per year. We speculate this was done to allow a gradual increase in capacity if the 32m application to government is rejected.
It was no surprise that the Council approved the application, as they own the airport while LLAOL run the airport. After approval, other applications would have followed to increase capacity to 21.5 million passengers, as this could be achieved within the existing airport boundary.
LLAOL could have put in a single application for an extra 3.5m passengers, that would have gone before Luton Council and would have been approved, so why didn’t they? We believe the plan was to avoid government scrutiny. Small, but frequent applications were unlikely to be picked up by government, but the Council and LLAOL didn’t reckon with opposition groups who rumbled the plan. To the dismay of the Council, the application for a 19m airport, will now also go to Government with a Public Inquiry being held in the autumn of 2022.
To defend the case put in by LLAOL (whose two international owners are worth £1.4bn) the Council have agreed to spend £600,000 including a legal defence team, complete with a Barrister.
Meanwhile, Luton’s Open Spaces will have to wait up to 167 years for their legal defence.
Award-winning Wigmore Park and its major County Wildlife Site though, is excluded from any proposed protection and will still disappear under airport concrete if this crazy Labour-run Council get their way.