Breaking: Setback for Luton station redevelopment as government rejects £2.5m bid for funds

The Department for Transport has turned down a £2.5m bid for funds to redevelop Luton railway station, we can exclusively reveal.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 5:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 6:07 pm
Luton train station

Govia Thameslink Railway applied for the money to plug a gap in funding for a £10.5m scheme to revamp the much-maligned station, but has today been told that its bid was unsuccessful.

The pot of cash would have been used to extend the front of the town centre station and to create improved retail units.

GTR spokesman Roger Perkins told the Luton News: “We are disappointed to learn that our bid for funding to support improvements at Luton station has been unsuccessful.

“However, we are determined to try to find a solution and will work with Network Rail, Luton Borough Council and the Department for Transport to understand how improvements at the station can be made in another way, most likely using a phased approach.”

He added: “In the meantime, we are working with Network Rail to resolve some of the immediate issues that affect our passengers as soon as possible.

“These include the boarded up windows on the footbridge and stairway to platforms 1 and 2 and the leak from the drainage channels on the new footbridge from High Town which results in water cascading off the canopies onto platforms 3 and 4.”

During a House of Commons debate on the state of the station on March 11, Luton South MP Gavin Shuker implored Rail Minister Claire Perry to accept GTR’s bid as a “vital part of the various pots of funding that will need to be assembled”.

However in an attempt to keep ambitions in check, Ms Perry advised against a “big bang scheme that is not fully funded” and gave examples of stations that have been redeveloped with a phased approach.

She said: “I know that it is more difficult, and of course one wants to have a vision towards which one is working, but a phased approach might be the way to get the project moving and, as (Mr Shuker) said, to get shovels in the ground.”

Department for Transport officials will meet with Luton Borough Council to discuss a scheme in the coming weeks, Ms Perry added.