Luton 2040: "Significant progress" being made in plans to create a bright future for the town

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A five-priority local authority strategy to create a bright future for Luton residents by 2040 is making “significant progress”, a meeting heard.

The aims are economic recovery from the pandemic, creating a greener and more sustainable town, protecting the most disadvantaged locally and reducing health inequalities, making Luton a child-friendly place, and developing a strong empowered community, according to a report to the borough council’s executive.

“It was agreed that regular refreshes of the Luton 2040 vision and corporate plan would take place, after the delivery of our Covid-19 recovery plans,” Labour council leader and Lewsey councillor Hazel Simmons told the committee.

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“It’s proposed the first update should take place to be completed by November 2022,” she explained.

Luton Town HallLuton Town Hall
Luton Town Hall

“The latest list of system-wide Luton 2040 key performance indicators is for consideration. These have been revised after the pandemic and include some new measures as set out in the government’s levelling-up White Paper.

“These changes include the addition of actions for adult obesity and decent homes. The minimum income standard model was created originally by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and has been adapted to factor in Luton housing costs.

“This model enables us to register the number of households in poverty in the town, as well as to model the potential impact of policy interventions by the council and its partners.

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Labour Challney councillor Tom Shaw noted that there was a suggestion in the report of “zero social housing” delivery for the next financial year, referring to three or four projects planned.

“For some reason, none of them have been included,” he explained. “I don’t know why. It’s just wrong.”

Councillor Simmons, who chairs the committee, replied: “Where it says zero social housing, we’ll look at that again.”

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The council adopted the Luton 2040 vision in October 2020, which was followed by a new corporate plan and governance model in April 2021, said the report.

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“There’s been significant progress towards Luton 2040, during the 18 months since the vision was set out, despite the substantial impact of the pandemic.

“Highlights include the first Luton 2040 annual conference, the delivery of Covid-19 recovery plans, the launch of a new town centre master plan, the fairness task force and curating Luton, a new ten-year heritage strategy.

“Working together with partners funding has been obtained for projects which will benefit Luton residents.

This includes:

> the £20m funding we secured from the Levelling Up Fund in October;

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> a further £248,000 from Partnerships for People and Place to help transform our town centre;

> more recently we’ve secured £3.7m funding from the CCG for hospital discharge and data projects;

> the £1.8m from the Department of Work and Pensions’ household support fund;

> the £200,000 for the Luton vaccine community fund;

> and £140,000 from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to fund our emergency hub for Ukrainian refugees.

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“A review of the vision, corporate plan, Luton 2040 key performance indicators and delivery plans is due to be completed ahead of the next annual conference in November 2022,” added the report.

“As part of the review process, delivery plans and priorities will be reviewed to ensure we are reporting on the key priorities for Luton 2040 and those tangible outcomes we have set to achieve by 2025.”

The executive approved proposals to refresh the Luton 2040 vision, the corporate plan and key performance indicators.