‘Dangerous’ flats in Luton must be pulled down

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Luton Council has served an enforcement notice on the owners of a four-storey block of flats after they failed to comply with planning conditions imposed when permission was granted in 2014.

The notice, served on the property in Downs Road on Monday 19 November, requires that the building be demolished within nine months

The flats are in the designated Rothesay Conservation Area, where there are additional planning controls to protect the special character of the neighbourhood. Planning conditions relating to the materials to be used, roof design, drainage and contaminated land strategy were not discharged and the building has not been built in accordance with the approved plans, which means the whole building is unauthorised.

Cllr Paul Castleman, the council’s portfolio holder for Planning and Transport said: “There are significant differences between the building that was approved and the one that has been built, including its levels, doors, windows and roof. There was also unauthorised living accommodation in the roof space, making an unsafe fifth floor, where private sector housing enforcement, building control and the fire service identified a number of significant hazards. These included the lack of a safe means of escape from fire and inadequate fire detection and prevention equipment within the building.

“Not only is this building not in keeping with the conservation area restrictions, it’s actually dangerous to live in. We will always seek to ensure our residents are safe and will take bold steps in response to harmful breaches of planning control, as in this case. I hope this will deter other potential developers from ignoring planning conditions and putting residents at risk in the future.”

The building owners do have the right of appeal.

Residents currently living in the flats will be able to seek housing advice from the housing solutions team. Anyone with concerns can contact the development control team on 01582 546302 developmentcontrol@luton.gov.uk