‘Tired and drab’ Luton town centre is in need of a facelift

There were 141 reports of violent crime and sexual offences in Luton town centre.
There were 141 reports of violent crime and sexual offences in Luton town centre.

An overhaul of Luton’s “tired” and “drab” town centre is being planned, if a share of some government funds can be secured.

And the town’s night-time entertainment needs a boost, a borough council meeting heard.

The call for change was made during an update on the Luton Investment Framework and its on-going proposals for 2019.

Labour council leader Hazel Simmons told the meeting: “It’s time to focus on revamping our town centre.

“There is no doubt Luton town centre is drab and tired, with nightlife needing a revival.

“We are therefore going to apply for funding from the government’s pot of money of £675m that it’s made available recently to develop a new town centre framework.

“We will need as a town to rethink what we want from our town centre, what a town centre for the future is going to look like, and how we can best use town centre spaces for our communities and local businesses.

“It’s vital the investment and growth coming in from the £1.5bn transformation of Luton benefits all of our communities.

“It is also important it is done so independently and to do this we have set up an inclusive growth commission, chaired by Sir Les Ebdon, which has already started work.”

Councillor Simmons explained that a number of grants have been received in the past year which will see the rejuvenation of arts and culture in Luton.

“2019 will also see the launch of our People Power and Passion Programme which will commemorate 100 years since the Luton Peace riots and the burning down of the town hall.”

Deputy council leader councillor Sian Timoney said: “One of the things that has helped us has been our Aspiration Centre, the mobile unit which has been around the town. And I’m really proud of the number who have filled in the assessment and have gone on to get work or education or training. If this is what we can do in seven months, think of what we can achieve over the next year.”