Flats plan for Chicago's site

Plans to demolish an empty building which housed two of Luton's nightclubs have been criticised because of the building's historic value.

Plans to turn the former home to Chicago's into flats
Plans to turn the former home to Chicago's into flats

The property on Gordon Street used to be Liquid/Envy and Chicago’s. Originally it was the Union Cinema, an art deco building constructed in the early 1930s and designed by Leslie H. Kemp.

The planning application was submitted by GPS Estates Ltd to the council’s planning department. The plan is to demolish the building while retaining the Gordon Street façade and to build a single building of five to six storeys of 60 flats, and two retail units.

A council planning officer has recommended for the application, as it stands, to be refused .

He said: “The scheme in its current form is considered to cause harm to the special aesthetic and communal value of this heritage asset and will detract from its visual appearance and contribution to the conservation area as the proposal would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the area and will therefore by contrary to Local Plan Policy ENV8 and the principals of the NPPF.”

Michael Hardiman & Associates LLP is the agent for GPS Estates Ltd.

They mentioned preserving the building’s architectural heritage. In a planning statement, they wrote: “The development site is within the Town Centre Conservation area and the Town Centre Shopping Area and is currently occupied by a redundant building of significant importance to the 20th century heritage of the town.

“All the main architectural features of the existing building on the Gordon Street façade will remain including the name and date plaque.

“The ground floor retail units and mix of one bedroom and two bedroom units in the proposed development is a balanced composition of harmony of form, construction and material which aims to create a positive contribution to the conservation area, retail frontage and residential building stock of Luton town centre whilst also preserving its architectural heritage.”