Lib Dems claim new £124m access road could lead to 'an eventual terminal two' at Luton Airport
Approval of a new access road linking the A1081 to New Century Airport could lead to an "eventual terminal two" at Luton Airport, according to the council's Liberal Democrat opposition group.
Applicant London Luton Airport Limited's (LLAL) plans for a 1.2-mile dual carriageway and a new business park were approved by the borough council's development control committee, after delays completing a legal agreement.
Liberal Democrat Barnfield councillor David Franks said: "Ashcroft Road, Wigmore Lane and Lalleford Road will become major access roads for your employment development and for terminal two, which we're not allowed to talk about because it's not part of this application.
"But believe me it is, because that's one of the key reasons why the road was proposed in the first place.
"We're told these roads won't be used because the traffic will be directed via Vauxhall Way.
"Local people will know there's an alternative, and those from further afield will be guided by their Sat Navs, which don't go by road signs but the quickest available route.
"Those three roads are destined to be major access routes for terminal two and the employment area, if it ever gets built."
He described as "two-faced" the argument that the Local Plan allocated the area for employment, but ignoring where it suggests "Eaton Green Road should form no part of the access arrangements for the airport".
Planning consultant David Gurtler replied: "Without the link, Vauxhall Way would become choked within 15 minutes in the morning peak hour.
"Within 45 minutes, all the roads leading on to it would be choked and at a complete standstill. The modelling shows it's essential."
LLAL's long-term expansion proposals to 32m passengers a year would be considered under completely different legislation, the 2008 Planning Act, Mr Gurtler told the committee.
"It goes to the Planning Inspectorate with the Secretary of State making a decision," he added.
"At the moment, it isn't even an application for a development consent order (DCO)."
Labour Farley councillor Mahmood Hussain said: "Century Park has been discussed many times over the access and finally there's a solution.
"It may not be perfect. But, if we're to see the economy recover, at least there's the possibility we'll have a number of jobs for Luton."
Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor, who chairs the committee, said: "When you talk about what's changed since 2019, Covid has had a horrific effect on employment, and that will continue.
"There will be further job losses. I don't know what the future of Vauxhall Motors is in the town. That's a large employment area.
"This will lead to a regeneration in that particular area and also sustainable development.
"If it was going to be a coal mine or fracking they wouldn't get a look in," he added.
"You've got to balance climate change against employment and I don't think we can miss this opportunity to generate a large amount of jobs in this area."