1. ITV Report

Church's land could become out-of-town retail park

Protesters met in Leighton Buzzard ahead of their trip to Westminster Abbey. Photo: ITV News Anglia.

Campaigners from Leighton Buzzard are staging a protest in London this lunchtime over plans to build an out-of-town retail park on land owned by the Church of England.

Residents and traders gathered in Bedfordshire this morning before heading to Westminster Abbey.

They claim the development on Grovebury Road will take trade away from the town centre.

Protester Victoria Harvey said the town council, community and local market traders were all against the plans.

Victoria Harvey, protester. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

But Central Bedfordshire Council, the Church Commissioners and the developers say it will create jobs and attract people to the town.

"We respect the right of anyone to voice their opinion and stage a a peaceful protest. Equally the commissioners always take into account local interest and planning regulations and take seriously their obligation and right under the Charities Act to seek the best price possible while selling land or buildings.

"Both the planning and legal processes in this case have been thorough. The proposed development at Grovebury, Leighton Buzzard will, in the judgement of the authorities, provide a much needed facility for the town, attract new inward investment and create a large number of jobs for local people."

– Spokesman, Church Commissioners.