• Mark Cant

Local resident Alan Daniels is concerned about the Luton Road development and its impact

Councillor Cant has huge concerns regarding the lack of opportunity that a member of the public had when raising these serious concerns about the LINPAC proposal to build two drive-thrus. Is it really fair to allow members of the public only 3 minutes to raise their concerns?

Alan went to Dunstable Town Council with some grave concerns regarding the LINPAC proposal to build two drive-thrus on Luton Road. There are three main concerns:

Air Pollution

In 2005 Luton Road was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) due to levels of unacceptable air pollution. The AQMA set out by DEFRA requires the local authority to put together a plan to improve the air quality. The local authority is supposed to take necessary steps to REDUCE pollution in this residential area. If such steps are not taken, DEFRA has the power to step in and intervene. AQMA’s are serious. Public health, and the safety and wellbeing of residents should be the no.1 priority. Despite promises to Luton Road residents to reduce heavy traffic air and noise pollution and millions of ££s worth of investment in Junction 11a and the new Woodside link road, Luton Road’s air and noise pollution has increased. Since the A5-junction 9 of the M1 was de-trunked in 2017, instead of using the purposed built Junction 11a, all northbound HGVs started accessing the Woodside Estate via junction 11, thus Luton Road. Opposite Amazon on the Woodside Estate, incredibly, there is a sign telling southbound HGVs to use Luton Road to access the M1 via Junction 11, and not the purpose built A5-M1 Woodside Link road. So, the residents have witnessed an explosion of air and noise pollution on Luton Road since 2018. Moreover, if this planning application is given the go ahead, we will see an even bigger increase in the number of HGVs and traffic on Luton Road. Speaking to industry professionals, they conservatively estimate another 200,000 HGV rotations per year are to be generated from this proposed development. If this proposal is given the go ahead, it would represent a serious dereliction of the CBC’s duty to deal with the pollution in an Air Quality Management Area. CBC should not make decisions that increase pollution in this designated Air Quality Management Area.

I need to tell you that the developer, has submitted an Air Quality Report that says there will be no harmful increases of pollution. The HUGE mistake is that their figures are based on pollution levels before junction 9 was de-trunked, and before all the HGVs started coming down Luton Road off Junction 11 of the M1. So, the developer’s report is based on OUT-OF-DATE data, and so the conclusions are wholly incorrect as they have not taken into account the massive local road network changes and developments. The CBC Pollution Officer has recommended getting more recent data to verify (or otherwise) the assumptions made in the developer’s report. How can you give the go ahead to this proposal when you do not have valid data yet?

Noise Pollution

Residents on Luton Road speak of not being able to open their front windows or sleep in their front rooms for the noise from speeding HGVs, and of their homes, windows and doors shuddering every time a HGV thunders past their homes. For residents on Liscombe Road, we are facing the prospect of having noise coming from HGVs and warehouses all night long. The CBC Pollution Officer has suggested that a restriction on hours may be a possible way forward. If this proposal is permitted to go ahead, we need CBC to act to restrict the hours of operation, so the residents of Liscombe Road can sleep at night, we have for the most part of a decade, not had any noise coming from this site at all. There are also 4 residents’ houses that will back on to the drive-thru carparks and will be subject to noise, light, and air pollution.

Traffic, road layout and parking

The Principal Highways Officer has offered 3 reasons to refuse this application. 1 is a lack of parking for the commercial warehouses which would lead to an increase in on-street parking thereby resulting in unacceptable traffic congestion and additional hazards for highway users and residents. 2, regarding the drive thru food outlets, the proposed development would make an over provision for the parking of cars and would therefore lead to excessive use of motor cars and fails to promote sustainable modes of transport. And 3, the proposed layout does not offer convenient and safe access for vehicles and pedestrians and therefore does not promote sustainable modes of transport.

The Principal Highways Officer also disagreed with the developers figures regarding trip generation for the drive thru food outlets, he asked the developer to request permission from both Greggs and Costa to carry out surveys to gather data. I do not believe the developer has arranged this. The drive thru food outlets will generate a higher number of trips on Luton Road. Cars will be queuing on Luton Road for the 2 food outlets as there is not enough space within the proposed development to accommodate queues, unlike Dunstable’s McDonalds and KFC which are both situated a distance away from the main road which in turn allows space for queuing cars. Is it a good idea to approve planning for this proposal when the Principal Highways Officer has recommended refusing permission?

The intersection in front of Lidl is already under pressure and oversubscribed, it is not going to cope with the increased traffic that this proposal will bring. There is not enough room for HGVs to turn left or right into this site, there’s barely enough room for two cars to move into the turning lane when coming from the Town Centre.

Downton’s, a haulier situated around the corner from this site has so many HGVs that they can no longer be accommodated on their premises, they spill out and park up all along Eastern Avenue and Luton Road legally and illegally. This proposal will add to the number of lorries vying for parking spaces there. The Market Cross pedestrian crossing corner on Luton Road, just along from the site if this proposal, is not wide enough for a lorry to safely get around without straying into the other lane or ploughing into the bollards on the corner.

None of the warehouses are being built for specific clients, why can’t they be built on the main Woodside estate or closer to the M1? The drive-thrus would surely be better located on the White Lion Retail Park, the Pizza Hut is empty now this could easily be converted to suit. Why was the M1-J11a put in, with so much land around it cleared? Is it not the ideal location for warehouses and distribution centres? Please listen to the residents, your constituents, we live here, we have the local knowledge. We are not against business or increasing job opportunities in our town, conversely this proposal will have a negative impact on Dunstable Town Centre’s businesses by creating heavy traffic on Luton Road thereby making it even more difficult to access the centre. People won’t bother going to the town centre. When plans for housing were submitted for this site in 2015, not one single objection was registered. I implore you to reject this proposal for all these reasons.

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