Stockwood Park cafe owner says he could lose £25k to £30k if forced to close for BBC festival

Alessandro is concerned about missing out on the footfall of 38,000 people who are expected to attend the festival
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The owner of a Luton cafe says he will not be able to trade when BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend comes to Luton in May – and fears he will miss out on the huge footfall of attendees in Stockwood Park.

Alessandro Dinghile runs Elevenses, at Stockwood Park Golf Centre, says he was only told that his business would not be allowed to open when he went to a drop-in session by Luton Borough Council.

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Alessandro said: “We heard Radio 1’s Big Weekend was announced and that was going to be held there, which was fantastic for us. Unfortunately once we went into the meeting, they had it all earmarked for themselves.

Stockwood Park Gold Centre. Picture: Google MapsStockwood Park Gold Centre. Picture: Google Maps
Stockwood Park Gold Centre. Picture: Google Maps

“The council has earmarked our car parking for other people, we’ve got 120 spaces. Our road goes from London Road, right up to the golf course. That's all closed off, it’s going to be red gated and only certain people can go in so we won't have any access to even our building.”

A spokesperson for Luton Borough Council said: “Radio 1’s Big Weekend is an exciting showcase prospect for Luton and will provide a huge financial boost to the economy and local businesses, but we are fully aware that there will be elements of disruption which we are working hard to minimise and mitigate where we can.

“As soon as the embargo was lifted we organised two drop-in events for local residents and businesses to better understand the impact of the event so we can work together to minimise any disruption as well as optimising opportunities for local businesses.

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“This includes Alessandro who was at the event and we are continuing discussions with him and other businesses who are impacted.”

The weekend has impacted his business already, after he was forced to cancel bookings scheduled from May 24 to 26.

Alessandro explained: “It's the last bank holiday weekend in May. Obviously we had a lot of events booked, which have now subsequently been cancelled. What that means financially is, we’re talking across a weekend like that, without even taking what could potentially be lucrative with the amount of people that are going through the park, we’d lose around about £25,000 to £30,000.”