Outline approval given to demolish Vauxhall buildings on edge of Luton and build industrial units

The aftersales operation is set to move to Ellesmere Port

By Euan Duncan
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 1:52 pm

A Vauxhall Motors site on the outskirts of Luton providing for around 300 jobs locally is set to be turned into industrial units and warehousing.

The land off Luton Road at Chalton is home to the company's aftersales operations, which is due to be switched to the vehicle manufacturer's Ellesmere Port base in Cheshire.

Hybrid plans submitted by developer Goodman have been approved for the area, which is located partly in Luton borough and the remainder in Central Bedfordshire.

The site layout

Goodman's scheme involves demolishing the current buildings and replacing them with between two and seven industrial units, a meeting of the borough council's development management committee heard yesterday (February 23).

About 200 staff have been directly employed at the Vauxhall site on Luton Road, Chalton, with 100 more on temporary contracts.

Principal planning consultant Carolyn Attwood-Parry confirmed to the committee: "It's a cross-authority application between the borough council and Central Bedfordshire Council covering 58 acres.

"Just over three acres is in Luton, with more than 54 acres in Central Bedfordshire," she explained.

"The Luton section of the application site is within the category A Cedric Road and Progress Way employment area.

"The outline part is for the demolition of the Vauxhall warehouse buildings and the redevelopment of the site for up to 116,000sqm of industrial storage and distribution uses, with parking and landscaping. The full element is for the site accesses and landscaping along Luton Road.

"The intention is to develop the site for between two and seven units. If it catered for five units, the corners of two of these, with lorry parking and loading bays, would be included in the Luton area.

"The nearest residential accommodation is 100m away from the development and no objections have been received."

Labour Dallow councillor Abbas Hussain called for the site access to only be from Luton Road.

She replied: "The application shows three different access points on Luton Road. If this gets approved, that would be fixed."

Director of planning at applicant Goodman Simon Flisher said: "Our focus is on owning, developing and managing accommodation for businesses in key locations.

"This is our first project in Luton. And we're focused on delivering regeneration of this site.

"We understand Vauxhall is aiming to consolidate its aftersales warehouse function at Ellesmere Port and to redeploy staff.

"While Vauxhall may require a plot within the redeveloped site, the land is of sufficient size to accommodate multiple occupiers in a mix of modern business premises.

"We want to ensure the process of decommissioning the current operations and building new facilities is seamless.

"This is a cross boundary application. The northern part sits in the Central Beds area, with a small part of the southern section in Luton.

"In terms of planning policy, the boundary really makes no difference because both authorities have allocated the land for new employment development in their Local Plans," he added.

"We believe this is the right location for investment in new development for businesses to meet objectives in this type of employment, upskilling and providing such accommodation.

"That's because it's brownfield land with a large building coming to the end of its life. It's located next to other industrial uses and has good access to the motorway network, without impacting on any residents.

"It's also in the right location to attract a workforce from Luton and the surrounding area.

"Outline planning permission would provide the basis to move forward to the next planning stage, which will be the preparation of more detailed matters in due course."