West Side story without a happy ending

It seemed like a good idea at the time – a new shopping centre in the Bury Park area of Luton.

Aerial view of West Side Shopping Centre
Aerial view of West Side Shopping Centre

So the West Side Centre was built off Dunstable Road in the late 1960s and the retail units were quickly snapped up.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Green Shield Stamps, Zodiac Toys and Brentford Nylons were just some of the companies that traded there. Then Shanks & Turner, a sports shop owned by ex-Luton Town footballers Wally Shanks and Gordon Turner, moved there from Dunstable Road.

The West Side even had its own pub, The Dutchman, which was later re-named The Nelson Flagship.

But the vast Arndale Centre was built in the early 1970s, becoming at the time the largest indoor shopping complex in Europe. The West Side couldn’t compete and it eventually closed in the mid 1980s.