New crane at Toddington Road is a ‘kick in the teeth’ say Luton residents

editorial image

Luton residents who endured three years of an unauthorised tower crane blighting their views were left dismayed after a new crane appeared in its wake.

The lattice boom crane at Ground Construction Ltd on Toddington Road appeared shortly before Christmas, after the company was ordered by Luton Borough Council to remove a previous unauthorised crane.

To residents who campaigned hard for the previous cane’s removal, the new crane has been a fresh kick in the teeth.

One furious resident said: “It is even bigger than the other cranes that they have had!

“The lattice boom on it cannot be lowered so we now have an even worse situation having to look at this crane 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The council refuse to do anything about it as they say it is not attached to the ground so it is not a permanent fixture.

“However the crane has not moved to a different location on site since it has been there.”

An agent for Ground Construction Ltd said: “Whilst planning permission was required for the tower crane as fixed plant, the crawler crane is a chattel [a moveable possession] and so planning permission is not required.”

Although the current crane requires no planning permission as it is not fixed to the ground, it is not authorised for its current use and the company has in fact made a retrospective planning application.

A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: “The crane in place on Ground Construction Ltd’s premises does not contradict planning legislation, unlike a previous crane which was found to have been in contravention of regulations and subsequently removed from the site.

“However it is currently being used for a purpose that is not authorised.

“The company has made a retrospective planning application that reflects this use. The council will determine the application within the next four to six weeks and cannot take any action before this has been decided.”

Although planning permission had been granted for a crane at the site in 2015, the previous crane did not meet its requirements and was denied retrospective planning permission by both the council and the Planning Inspectorate.

The resident added: “Me and my neighbours are at a loss over what to do next.

“It took us 3 years to get rid of the first crane and looks like we have another long fight to get rid of this one!”