Two of the biggest issues about living in Luton are crime and the lack of public open space. This failed Council sees public open space (that it seems to reluctantly maintain), as prime building land that removes the burden of, and the cost of grass cutting. As such the Council has lost many public parks, either totally or in large parts, as it builds over what is left of Luton’s green spaces with little regard for the well-being of its residents.
The two latest parks that are planned to be built on are Wandon neighbourhood park and Wigmore Valley District Park. Wigmore, which is a large multi award winning park, is said to be required for unwanted airport expansion, including a second terminal. All this while the delusional Council continues to financially support its loss making, airport owning, company called Luton Rising.
While plotting the destruction of the latest two public parks the Council hails the opening of a pocket park in the centre of Luton, that is expected to attract drug users and drunks as a meeting place.
As well as a lack of green open space, Luton has a major problem that this ineffectual Council has refused to tackle – a crime rate that is out of control. Bedfordshire Live reports that, “One crime was committed for every three people living in Bedfordshire’s most dangerous neighbourhood.”
“Last year more crimes were committed in Central Luton & Park Town – than anywhere else in the county, a total of 5,077 separate offences. When compared to the population that adds up to 315 offences for every 1,000 residents.
It also means the equivalent of one offence was committed every 104 minutes in Central Luton & Park Town, according to data on the police.uk website. Violence and sexual offences are very prevalent in Central Luton & Park Town. There were 1,541 crimes of a violent or sexual nature last year. But the neighbourhood also suffered from the highest rates of burglary, weapons possession offences, robbery, theft and drug crime in Bedfordshire.”
The indigenous population of Luton have long abandoned any thoughts of visiting the town centre unless they must, preferring instead to go to surrounding towns for shopping and entertainment. What is very popular though is Wigmore Valley Park, that has been twice voted as Best Park in Bedfordshire. This means little to a “don’t care Council” that is planning to destroy most of a major public park plus 100% of its large County Wildlife Site that is teeming with wildlife.
While we celebrate any new open space, even a pocket park, it is hard to get enthusiastic about a sterile concrete space, containing four small strips of narrow grass and two flowerbeds in a rough area of town that will be boycotted by most of the population. It should also be noted that this pocket park is the only additional open space the Council intends to provide, with no replacement parks or open space offered within the Borough of Luton to replace both Wandon and Wigmore Parks or any other lost Luton park.
The Council’s Policy on parks and open space is clear so we end this article quoting a former councillor who was the chairman of Luton Rising: “We have to use what we have; we are surrounded by countryside and all we have to do is jump in the car and drive to it.” What he failed to mention is that under this Council many people living in Luton are too poor to own a car.