Children’s excitement at regeneration plans for Luton shows the town is moving in the right direction, says #saveourtown.
The community campaign group has continued its school assembly programme, engaging young people in the conversations around Power Court and Newlands Park, with sessions at Warden Hill Juniors and Dallow Primary, following on from their inaugural event last month with St Margaret’s of Scotland Primary.
And the group will be holding more assemblies with other schools, even beyond Monday’s crucial decision date at the Luton Town Hall, when councillors on the development control committee will decide whether or not to approve Newlands Park, the second of two applications by 2020 Developments Ltd, the property arm of Luton Town Football Club.
A planning officer’s report has already recommended the application for approval and should councillors follow that, it will mean the go-ahead, pending any potential challenges, for a mixed-use development which will contain offices, leisure and high-end retail.
It is the crucial piece in the town centre regeneration jigsaw after planning permission was granted for Power Court in January, as much of the funding for that site will be generated by Newlands Park which, among other things, aims to keep more Luton spend in the town.
It means that, despite planning permission for a 17,500-seat stadium for Luton Town Football Club, an 1,800-capacity music venue, leisure, entertainment facilities and more, delivering them hinges on Monday’s decision.
But #saveourtown, who have been raising awareness of the two schemes, that will also provide £250million a year for the local economy and 10,000 new jobs, are continuing their #DoItForTheKids campaign, ensuring as many young people as possible know how Luton will change and grow as they do.
Chairman Nigel Green said: “We regard this programme of our campaign work as one of the most crucial. We all want a bright new future for Luton, but young people are the ones that stand to benefit or suffer the most from Monday’s monumental decision at Town Hall.
“Over the last week it has been fantastic engaging with both the children and staff at Warden Hill Junior School as well as at Dallow Primary school.
“The pupils at both schools were hugely excited by the plans for both Power Court and Newlands Park, with several children commenting on how they wouldn’t need to travel to other towns anymore to find fun things to do.
“The children were also enthralled by the artwork that has begun appearing at Power Court as part of our Power in Paint initiative with Aimi Rix of Little Red Creative Studios, which is Europe’s single, largest urban street art project. It shows the town is moving in the right direction.
“While Monday’s decision is so important for the future of our town, our work will not stop once a verdict is delivered and we are visiting several other schools over the next few weeks, hopefully to tell them about the most positive news for Luton in generations.
“If you would like us to come and visit your school, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The #DoItForTheKids campaign has already seen pupils from Hillborough Junior School create powerful videos (see below) and enjoy an audience with Luton Council Leader, Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE.
#saveourtown will also soon reveal another young people-focused engagement event.