Napier Park Gateway: Developer in bid to build 685 highrise apartments

Designs for the proposed Napier Gateway site
Designs for the proposed Napier Gateway site

Overarching plans for Napier Park look set to change, as a developer has submitted plans to build more homes on the brownfield site.

In 2014 Augur Group were granted planning permission to build 625 homes, a supermarket, a casino, a hotel, retail units and 2,089 parking spaces on the former Vauxhall plant site, off Kimpton Road, Luton.

Designs for the proposed Napier Gateway site

Designs for the proposed Napier Gateway site

The south-eastern section of the site, which has become known as Napier Gateway, is now in the hands of developers J2 Global – which has submitted a planning application for 685 apartments, a 209 bed hotel, a medical centre, gym, retail units and a public square.

If granted, J2’s plans will replace the supermarket previously planned for the ‘gateway’ with apartment blocks of up to 18 storeys.

Matthew Gibbs, director of planning consultants DP9, told the Luton News: “It is around a quarter of the Napier Park site, of about 2.5 hectares in size.

“We very much see it as a gateway site, it sits opposite the station and is in a prominent location close to the airport and in the enterprise zone.

“It has been designed with regard to what has already been approved.

“We’ve worked up technical documents to assess the likely impact on other bits (of Napier Park) to ensure that our scheme will happen and that the other developments come forward and aren’t compromised.

“If approved it would mean there should be an uplift in the amount of homes the entire site provides.”

Responding to residents’ concerns over the height of the planned apartment blocks, Mr Gibbs added: “This south-eastern corner is quite distant from the nearest homes – it is around 250 to 300 metres from Ketton Close.

“We’ve carried out a consultation with residents and have written to more than 1,200 addresses inviting comments.

“We’ve had about ten different responses, there were some concerns about the heights but others were supportive about the provision of new homes and a public space.

“For those who were concerned we offered to meet with them and take them through it in detail... they’ve not wanted to take us up on that unfortunately.

“We’ve always said we are very willing to have discussions with anyone who is interested.”

Should planning consent be granted J2 expects to complete Napier Gateway in spring 2019.

A spokesperson for Luton Borough Council said the authority will conduct a ‘comprehensive’ public consultation on the proposals, which are still being validated by planning officers.