Luton Borough Council gives construction firm the end of the year to remove unauthorised crane

The unauthorised crane at Toddington Road     [Google]
The unauthorised crane at Toddington Road [Google]

Fed up residents whose views are blighted by a towering crane near their homes could have to wait until the end of the year before it is finally removed.

Applicant Ground Construction Ltd’s attempts to gain a 10-year planning permission for a large crane at Toddington Road was refused by Luton Borough Council in 2016 and by the Planning Inspectorate in an unsuccessful appeal last December.

In spite of its , a large unauthorised crane operated by the company continues to loom over the neighbourhood – despite lacking planning permission.

Now Ground Construction Ltd states that it has agreed to remove the crane by the end of the year.

One resident said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that it’s still up there even after they lost their appeal.

“The council have been utterly incompetent letting it drag on this long, they [Ground Construction Ltd] have run rings around them.”

In the appeal decision in November 2017, Government Inspector Graham Chamberlain noted that although temporary planning permission had been granted for a crane in 2015, the existing structure was of a different design and out of position.

He said: “The existing tower crane is of a different design to that approved and about four metres out of position.

“As such the temporary planning permission has not been implemented and has expired.

“The existing tower within the appeal site appears to be unauthorised.”

Mr Chamberlain also noted the visual impact of the crane and concerns over noise pollution after visiting nearby homes.

He stated: “It has a harmful, unavoidable and overbearing presence in the outlook from nearby residential properties.”

A Ground Construction Ltd spokesman said: “We can confirm that by legal consent and prior agreement of the Luton Borough Council (LBC), that the tower crane will be dismantled and removed off site by 31st December 2018.”

A spokesman for Luton Borough Council told Luton News: “We can confirm that an enforcement notice has been served and the compliance date is December this year – when the crane must be removed.

“Further complaints received in respect of this site are currently being considered.

“Luton Council takes both the complaints of residents and the breach of any enforcement notice very seriously. GCL has given a commitment to remove the crane by December 2018.

“If they fail to do so, the authority will consider what action to take.”