Capital & Regional have been blasted by Lutonians for being ‘backwards thinking’ and acting like ‘toddlers’ after they blocked a stream of individuals and local organisations, including #saveourtown, from interacting with them on Twitter.
The volunteer-run campaign group, which has been raising awareness of the once-in-lifetime opportunities presented by the Power Court and Newlands Park regeneration schemes, discovered on Friday evening that the major opposers to the latter had censored them.
It means that the owners of The Mall shopping centre – who have long claimed to be acting in the interests of the community they serve while opposing the Newlands Park planning application – have opted to ignore the views of thousands of customers.
#saveourtown posted on Twitter: ‘Would you look at that! They’ve blocked us. Just goes to show that, whatever they’ve said, they don’t care about the views of Lutonians’.
It came 24 hours after a Luton Borough Council planning officer’s report recommended that councillors approve Newlands Park when it goes before the development control committee on Monday March 11.
In response to Capital & Regional’s actions, Lutonians took to Twitter in protest. @lee_archer wrote: ‘So you claim to have the interest of #Luton at heart and then block @saveourtownltn and others. Interesting move just before the council’s decision. I assume it’s so you don’t have to see all the victorious tweets once the right decision is made’.
@Matt_J_Harrison said: ‘Could someone @CapRegPLC come on and explain why they’ve blocked @saveourtownltn. Seems like they feel threatened by a volunteer group who are putting the interest of Luton at heart’.
It was soon discovered that Capital & Regional had also blocked the town’s main newspaper, The Luton News and their Sports Editor Mike Simmonds and it quickly led to the #BlockMeToo hashtag spreading across the social media platform, with Lutonians and Hatters fans alike outraged at The Mall owners.
@MummyVsWork wrote: ‘such a shame they can’t engage in the constructive conversations rather than covering their ears like toddlers who are misbehaving’.
@davefinan82 tweeted: ‘If only Capital & Regional had supported the plans for Luton, they could have benefitted from regeneration plans. Instead they are finished in Luton, reputation destroyed as a backwards thinking company’.
@DGallagher20 said: ‘Not investing in Luton, putting barriers in the way of moving the town light years ahead of others and then mass blocking Lutonians. They’re a disgrace and they’re unwanted in Luton.’
@GaryDarroch1973 said: ‘@CapRegPLC blocking @saveourtownltn instead of wanting to work with the people of Luton to improve the town for the benefit of all is. A perfect example of the contempt you have shown the people of Luton for years, and the reason the mall is struggling’.
@DarranMurtagh tweeted: ‘@CapRegPLC. Are you blocking the entire population Luton, and the surrounding Towns for supporting @saveourtownltn? And there we were thinking you know what’s best for Luton’.
@LutonJournoLTFC was initially not blocked but posted a tweet, tagging in the London-based group, saying: ‘I’m not blocked. Let’s have a sweepstake to see how long it’ll take @CapRegPLC to #BlockMeToo!’
It took eight minutes.
@AdiShotbolt posted: ‘Hey @CapRegPLC please please #BlockMeToo as I have absolutely zero respect for your company as you have repeatedly shown disdain for the future growth of Luton and the wider region’.
@james_mcevoy10 wrote: ‘not sure how wise it is to block potential customers, just shows how much of a negative impact you are on our town’.
With his access to ask Capital Regional blocked, @SeanMLTFC tweeted BBC Three Counties presenter Justin Dealey, saying: ‘@JustinDealey can you ask why capital and regional would block @saveourtownltn for promoting the town please…I find it really hard to wonder what their deepest intentions is (other than their own pockets)’.
The radio personality responded with: ‘I wouldn’t let it worry you Sean. The people making huge decisions on the future of Luton are not Capital and Regional. I’m looking forward to the planning meeting immensely.’
#saveourtown chairman Nigel Green has now responded to Friday’s blocking saga, saying: “Capital & Regional are a company that have repeatedly claimed it wants to work with the people of Luton. Yet here is an extraordinary situation where they have openly blocked any interaction with representative groups and organisations of our town that have their ear far closer to the ground than they ever have.
“We’ll continue speaking up for the people of our town because this is about much more than Capital & Regional, it’s about Luton rediscovering its sense of pride, identity and controlling its own destiny.
“However, their actions exhibit a childish tantrum response to things, usually truthful, that they don’t like. As the old proverb goes, there are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.
“We look forward to the Newlands Park decision day on March 11, where we expect our elected councillors to follow the planning officer’s recommendation, fulfil the wishes of local people and approve the planning application.”