Luton: ambitious, innovative and ready for business

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A £1.5billion vision for Luton has been unveiled.

Luton Council today launched the town as a major player in the UK economy with the launch of an ambitious £1.5 billion inward investment programme.

A packed audience of investors, businesses and opinion formers at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London heard how Luton’s unrivalled combination of superb infrastructure, great access and a skilled workforce is making it one of the UK’s best opportunities when it comes to business and investment.

At the event Luton Council launched its Investment Framework, a 20-year plan for major transformation through inward investment which outlines how Luton will achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth and create more than 18,500 jobs for local people.

The framework underpins how the local authority is working with key partners to drive improvements to health and wellbeing and enhance prosperity across the town.

Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council, said: “We are absolutely clear in our vision for Luton and the Investment Framework sets out how we will grow the economy and transform the town in order to improve the quality of life for our residents.

“In less than a year since it was drafted we’ve completed the £31 million J10a improvement scheme and secured Enterprise Zone status, while the £110 million London Luton Airport redevelopment is well underway, along with other major developments moving forward. This, combined with the fact that there are already over 1,000 construction workers on site in four schemes as we speak, demonstrates that the transformation of Luton is well and truly happening.”

“Working with education partners and training providers, as a result of investment on this scale, we will be able to prepare and skill our future workforce for the needs of tomorrow’s employers.”

“Luton is ambitious, innovative and ready for business and we want to demonstrate absolute quality at every level. I think today’s event went some way towards achieving this and I know we were able to surprise and excite a lot of people about the town’s massive transformation.”

The Council is working in partnership with major investors and developers to transform the town over the next few years with a number of major developments creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

International property developers and investors who own large development sites in Luton paid for today’s event and talked to the mainly London-based audience about a range of schemes coming forward over the next 18 months.

The town has eight major strategic development sites offering retail, leisure, hotels and housing opportunities and large sites for engineering, technology, creative and aviation-linked employment.

A number of developments were showcased, including London Luton Airport’s £110 million redevelopment which is set to increase annual capacity by 50%, from 12 to 18 million by 2020.

Other Luton schemes presented included multi-million pound mixed-use developments at Napier Gateway (J2 Global), Butterfield Business Park (Henry Boot Developments), High Town, Sloane International luxury apartments and Power Court (British Land).

2020 Developments, the company behind Luton Town Football Club, presented its vision for a new football stadium and associated enabling development to regenerate the town. Capital &Regional, the owner of 1 million sq ft The Mall shopping centre in the heart of Lutonalso presented their exciting development plans.

Cllr Sian Timoney, Deputy Leader of Luton Council, said: “The ongoing decrease in funding for local authorities across the country is impacting on local services and residents’ lives, which is why we have stepped forward to take the lead on encouraging growth and creating quality jobs for local people.

“The time is absolutely right for Luton following significant investment in supporting infrastructure at Junction 10a, the Luton Dunstable Busway and the Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme. We have partnered with a number of respected international developers and investors in ambitious and state-of-the-art development plans with more than £1.5 billion investment potential.”

Business leaders and commercial entrepreneurs took part in a panel discussion at today’s event where a number of reasons were given for why Luton is becoming a magnet for employers offering high-quality jobs.

The discussion was chaired by Tony Danaher, Chief Executive, Regeneration Investment Organisation of UK Trade & Investment, whose extensive career has seen him become one of the most respected and well-connected individuals in the UK property and regeneration industry.

Speaking after the event, Mr Danaher said: “It was clear that a lot of people were pleasantly surprised by what they heard and saw. Luton is bold and ambitious, and fast becoming a location of choice for some of the fastest growing industries that are driving the UK economy.

“Situated only 30 miles north of London, Luton has easy access to the major cities in the UK due to its excellent road, rail and air links. It has three dedicated railway stations, with London only 22 minutes by train, making it one of the most affordable commuter towns in the country.

“However Luton’s appeal is much more than its location and affordability, it is the top town in the UK for super-fast broadband connectivity and with a number of major development schemes coming forward, including a 395 acre Enterprise Zone, it starts to become obvious why Luton is fast becoming a destination of choice for many businesses. ”

Trevor Holden, Chief Executive at Luton Council, said: “The Investment Framework presents a clear and coherent plan to the local community, partners and potential investors, and focuses attention on ensuring everything that we do is aimed at improving health, wellbeing and prosperity of our residents.

“The Council has grasped its ‘place shaping’ agenda and is delivering a comprehensive investment strategy of local, regional and national significance.”

For more information visit www.thinkluton.co.uk