Cresta House to be transformed into flats after County Court moves out

Cresta House
Cresta House

A prominent Luton town centre building is to be turned into flats once it is vacated completely by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.

Plans to turn part of Cresta House in Alma Street were approved for 55 flats last year.

The remainder of the building is now to be converted into a further 36 flats, covering the courts area and a Department of Work and Pensions assessment centre.

Applicant Rui Liu was seeking “a change of use and conversion from community infrastructure to 20 two-bed and 16 one-bedroom flats”, said a report to last Wednesday’s (October 2) borough council’s development control committee.

Cresta House is a large seven- to eight-storey building on a 1.4-acre site, which has been subject to numerous applications to convert office space into residential accommodation, added the report.

The initial application last year for 55 flats covered the entire first and third floors, and part of the fourth and sixth floors.

Full planning permission was being sought for the second floor, part of the fourth floor, the fifth floor and part of the sixth floor.

Planning officer Graham Dore told the committee there would be a loss of office space to residential accommodation.

“But it is considered the mix, character and quantum of the development are acceptable,” he said.

“There is a policy compliant provision of affordable housing.

“Given the history of the site the proposal represents the best use of the building.”

The courts and tribunal service’s new base will be the fourth and fifth floors of Arndale House, after planning permission was granted in January for a law court with offices.

Luton County Court was due to relocate towards the end of this year.

Associate director at Savills Mia Scaggiante, who was representing the applicant’s company Leos Luton Development Limited, said: “We are very pleased with how the application has progressed and evolved with the officers.

“The benefits include 36 new homes towards Luton’s housing target, 20 per cent affordable housing and a high quality town centre residential accommodation.”

Councillors unanimously approved the scheme.