Rejected bid for station rebuild funds '˜a slap in the face' for Luton, MP says
A failed bid for funds to redevelop Luton railway station is a '˜slap in the face' for the town, MP Gavin Shuker has said.
Last Thursday Govia Thameslink Railway was told that an application it made to the government for £2.5m in funding had been rejected.
GTR submitted the bid last year to plug a gap in funding for a £10.5m scheme to revamp the run-down station.
If it was successful the £2.5m would have been used to extend the front of the town centre station and to create improved retail units.
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker has hit out at the decision taken by the Department for Transport.
He told the Herald & Post: “It’s a slap in the face for Luton’s commuters and residents.
“Just two weeks ago, in the House of Commons, Tory ministers gave me their assurance they were doing all they could to get this rebuild going.
“Apparently they’re just not interested.”
Following Thursday’s announcement GTR said it was ‘disappointed’ but vowed to find a solution with DfT, Network Rail and Luton Borough Council.
The most likely way forward is a phased development scheme, examples of which were touted by Rail Minister Claire Perry during a House of Commons debate on the state of Luton station on March 11.
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.”
In the meantime GTR has said it will work with Network Rail fix a number of the station’s maintenance problems.
A spokesperson told us: “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.”