DfT stalls on £2.5m bid for Luton train station redevelopment

Luton train station
Luton train station

A key funding announcement which could transform Luton’s central railway station is facing severe delays, we can reveal.

In May 2015 Govia Thameslink applied for £2.5 million from the Department for Transport to extend the front of the town centre station and create improved retail units.

The funding is seen as the last piece in the jigsaw for an overall £10.5m scheme to revamp the much-maligned station.

Despite indicating that it would reveal its decision on the bid in December, the DfT has now told the Luton News that an announcement will now be made in the ‘near future’.

It added that it has informed Govia Thameslink that there would be “more time before final announcement in order to work through the details of the bids that were received with promoters.”

In a statement the DfT said: “We are fully committed to making journeys better for rail customers who use Luton town station.”

Though up to £8 million has already been earmarked for the overarching project, the DfT delay has put the scheme on ice for the time being.

Luton Borough Council has pledged £1.5 million of that total.

Efforts to improve the transport hub have been on the cards for years, but previous plans for redevelopment were shelved after the 2010 General Election.

The station is used by 3.5 million passengers every year and was identified as one of the country’s worst in a 2010 DfT study.

Thameslink spokesperson Roger Perkins told the Luton News: “No-one is more keen than Thameslink to see Luton station get the improvements it deserves.

“With our industry partners we have worked hard to find possible funding to give Luton residents the station they deserve and await decisions and timescales.”