Luton’s Save Our Town campaigners put the pressure on at Capital & Regional’s AGM

The demo in London
The demo in London

Luton and Walthamstow joined forces this morning to protest outside Capital & Regional’s annual shareholder meeting in London.

Communities across the two boroughs, where it owns and runs the central shopping malls, are united in being furious that C&R is “riding roughshod” over the views of the local people.

Protestors from the #saveourtown campaign in Luton and the Save Our Square campaign in Walthamstow staged a demonstration outside the C&R AGM at 110 Rochester Row in central London, venting their anger at C&R’s Board as they arrived for today’s meeting.

Fans who had bought C&R shares and were therefore entitled to attend the meeting, had planned to ask the Board why it was ignoring the wishes of communities where the company owns retail malls.

It is understood they managed to ask a number of questions, and also had a chat with C&R chief executive Lawrence Hutchings.

C&R is accused of misleading investors by claiming that local communities are at the heart of its strategy when, in reality, the company is at loggerheads with two key communities it claims to represent.

C&R is the single major objector to a scheme in Luton which would help fund a new football stadium on a derelict site in the town centre, create a separate new development at Junction 10 of the M1 motorway and free desperately needed land for social housing.

More than 11,000 people have backed the proposals, including the two local MPs, local councillors and leading members of the community.

The #saveourtown campaign, launched this week, is furious that C&R, which owns The Mall shopping centre in Luton, is trying to stop a much needed regeneration scheme for the town.

In Walthamstow C&R has sparked a huge protest with its plans to build four new tower blocks in the town square with a minimal amount of social housing. Protestors from the Save Our Square campaign set up a soup kitchen outside the London venue, to highlight the way C&R is allegedly ignoring socially disadvantaged people in the Borough.

Lauren Archell, from #saveourtown, said: “Capital & Regional is trying to block a development which will completely revitalise our town and fund a new stadium for the football club.

“It claims to be a socially responsible company which boasts that its entire corporate strategy is community focused. They are misleading investors and riding roughshod over the wishes of the very local communities that they claim to represent.”

Capital & Regional declined to comment.