Plans for park and ride at business park on the edge of Luton recommended for approval

The council has submitted plans for the 338-space park and ride at Butterfield Business Park
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A local authority’s plans to create a park and ride site at the Butterfield Business Park in Luton would aim to ease traffic congestion and pollution locally.

Applicant Luton Borough Council’s proposals include a small office with parking bays, an access and other works on two-and-a-half acres of land, next to an electricity substation, at Great Marlings.

The business park is on the edge of the borough about two miles to the north-east of the town centre, close to its boundary with north Hertfordshire.

Butterfield Business Park Luton. Picture: Google MapsButterfield Business Park Luton. Picture: Google Maps
Butterfield Business Park Luton. Picture: Google Maps

Land to the north of Butterfield is within the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), according to a report to the council’s development management committee.

“The Butterfield Green site has been allocated for employment uses since 1997, after the adoption of the then Borough of Luton Local Plan,” said the report.

“Outline planning permission for a mixed-use development was originally granted in 2003, but progress on the majority of the site stalled because of the financial downturn after 2007/08.

“This land is one of the remaining undeveloped plots of the business park, with access to and from the A505 Hitchin Road.

“A policy within the Luton Local Plan 2011 to 2031 states that support will be given to the provision of a new 450 space park and ride facility on this land to mitigate traffic in the borough and promote sustainable transport.

“The council’s scheme is for a 338 spaces and is accompanied by a feasibility report, which examines the potential demand and economics of the park and ride.

“Given this detailed and recent feasibility work, which concludes this size would be financially self-sufficient and cater for demand, it’s considered acceptable that the proposed development is smaller than originally envisaged in the Local Plan for the number of parking spaces.”

A park and ride facility was permitted under the original outline planning application for the Butterfield site, explained the report.

“LBC’s project also includes cycle storage and motorcycle parking with dedicated shelters, while a landscaping buffer is proposed around all four sides of the site, with hedging retained along the northern, eastern and southern boundaries.

“The principle behind this facility is to intercept and reduce traffic arriving from the Hitchin Road corridor, destined for London Luton Airport and other locations in the town.

“This key corridor into the centre of Luton serves the towns of Hitchin, Letchworth and Stevenage, and city of Cambridge, as well as many smaller settlements in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

“That area experiences significant periods of congestion at peak times, resulting in congestion, air pollution and economic inefficiency.

“These issues would be managed by encouraging the modal shift of drivers from private cars into dedicated park and ride buses, reducing private car usage and improving sustainable transport choices.

“Its impact on the character and appearance of the area and on the Chilterns AONB would be acceptable,” added the report. “Jobs would be provided during construction and operation, supporting sustainable economic growth.”

Councillors are due to consider the planning application at a committee meeting on Wednesday (March 20).