Is Luton really that boring for students? Survey claims are disputed by town representatives

Groups on the ground say there is plenty to do if you look

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 11:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 11:30 pm

Party-loving students have given Luton the thumbs down. And they are not too impressed with the university either, according to research by a social planning app.

Findings by Howbout says students classed the town as the third most boring place to be, because of the low number of bars and meeting places - only beaten by Kent who topped the list, followed by Norwich.

But the University of Bedfordshire did take top spot in the research as the most boring place to be a student.

The University of Bedfordshire

Howbout used a combination of its own user data, university satisfaction score ratings, National Student Survey data from this year and ONS data which spans city sizes, region sizes and the number of bars and pubs per region to reach its findings.

The annual National Student Survey 2021 (NSS) placed the University of Bedfordshire in 130th position out of a total of 151 institutions.

Contributing to Luton's place on the list was the low number of social events being planned, the low number of restaurants and bars for students to visit and the university's 130th placing for student satisfaction.

But organisations in the town have disputed the claims.

Luton BID Manager, Julia Horsman said: “Our town centre really does have so much to offer for students and young people, and we continue to welcome them with open arms, offering live music, great entertainment and lots of dining options.

"We disagree that Luton town centre is boring and our message for everyone is to come and visit so that they can see for themselves. We have some great venues, and also have The Hat Factory and the Galaxy Centre which offer a variety of different activities and events, as well as some great pubs and bars for students to enjoy.

“Luton BID is already proactively working with the University of Bedfordshire and town centre partners on a number of other projects to boost our evening economy, but we of course want to go further still to make the area more entertaining and diverse. We’re paying particular attention to initiatives that will improve safety to support and encourage students into the town centre so that they can see what we have here.”

A spokesperson from Beds Student Union said: “Luton is a place thriving with activity and culture. It boasts a wide variety of shops, restaurants and open green spaces, plus a great range of sport and fitness clubs and social facilities across the town to help students to meet new people and stay active.

"Luton is also home to art galleries, dance spaces and a theatre offering comedy nights, live music and stage shows, while the local cinema, arcade and bowling alley offer the latest films and date night nostalgia.

“On-campus at the University of Bedfordshire, students can take full advantage of their Students' Union venue. Here they will find a coffee shop and bar, plus a whole host of daytime and evening entertainment, from quiz nights and club nights to keynote speakers and coffee mornings.

"There is also an extensive range of student societies available at the university, where students can come together with like-minded people to organise and take part in activities that are of interest to them.”

A spokesman for Howbout said: "Having an active social life is key for university students and the social planning app analysed the number of plans being made on the app, alongside the number of restaurants and bars per resident, and the universities with the lowest student satisfaction."