Luton parties clash as motion defeated to charge Luton Airport for new parking scheme in East Luton

Residents in east Luton will be “appalled” at the borough council’s reluctance to approach the town’s airport to fund a local parking scheme, a meeting heard.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 1:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 1:02 pm

A motion to the borough council was defeated in a recorded vote, which was split along political party lines, with the Liberal Democrats in favour, the ruling Labour group against, and the Conservatives abstaining.

Residents in the Vauxhall Park and Wigmore areas have complained about holidaymakers and airport workers parking on their streets.

But the Liberal Democrats claimed it is unfair to make residents pay £50 a year for a permit to park outside their homes.

Luton Airport

The motion was proposed by Liberal Democrat Crawley councillor Lee Bridgen, who advised the council to start talks with London Luton Airport and the council-owned London Luton Airport Limited over the funding issue.

But his appeal was rebuffed by Labour South councillor Paul Castleman, who explained the council’s “sanctioned a parking policy review”.

The executive member for planning and transport said: “There are many reports of inconsiderate and dangerous parking. This covers only two wards.

“We have already consulted and endorsed a parking scheme. This will be implemented in the next few weeks.

“This motion is largely redundant because we are already dealing with the issue and the rest of Luton is being looked at.”

Labour Round Green councillor councillor Mark Rivers said there is no funding from Thameslink for the High Town parking scheme or from the NHS for parking around Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

“Quite a few residents in the area are advertising their own parking schemes on the internet and charging people to use them.

“If they’re renting out their own parking space presumably they will store their own vehicle on the street.”

Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor said: “The airport could make a contribution if it wants to, but we can’t force it to pay.”

But Liberal Democrat Wigmore councillor Peter Chapman said east Luton residents “had no perception” the airport would cater for 36m passengers a year when they went to live there.

He told the committee a parking scheme might cost around £100,000.

“The airport would probably gain more than that by forcing these passengers to actually use the airport to park.”

Suggestions residents are renting out their driveways and gardens for parking “would cause outrage to those I represent,” added councillor Chapman.

“For the airport, which is trying to win over residents in the area to its expansion plans, it seems a no-brainer to me for a tiny sum of £100,000 to £150,000.

“Yet again, it didn’t come from you, you’re not interested, treat everyone the same, not look at a specific situation, absolutely typical response, and our residents will be appalled.”

The motion submitted by the Liberal Democrats asked the council to acknowledge that residents of Vauxhall Park and Wigmore suffer from inconsiderate parking.

Liberal Democrat Crawley councillor Terry Keans, who seconded the motion, said: “Shops would be penalised and the church would have to negotiate a concession for parking for weddings and funerals.

“It’s regarded as a revenue raising project and not designed to solve any of the problems up there.”