Luton is changing at a remarkable pace. We are working with partners to create a positive climate for inward investment and are on schedule to secure investment to transform the town and create thousands of quality jobs for local people. We are providing strong leadership and delivering high quality services to improve the life opportunities for our people and to ensure Luton is dynamic, prosperous, safe and healthy. These are all being achieved through the Council’s six strategic priorities:
Building economic growth and prosperity
In April, the Council launched Luton’s £1.5 billion investment potential with national, regional and local partners.
Construction projects worth £200 million are in progress, including the £110 million transformation of London Luton Airport.
Major development proposals brought forward include a £600 million landmark mixed-use scheme.
Plans to invest in a £200 million Mass Passenger Transit, linking the airport with mainline Luton Airport Parkway station, were announced.
Enhancing skills and education
With a growing economy and thousands of new jobs coming on stream, the skills agenda was revamped to benefit local people.
Notable achievements include Ofsted-rated provision so high that 92 per cent of students attend a secondary school that has been rated good or better. GCSE results have improved and 75 per cent of students studying at sixth form or equivalent are going onto university.
The Council is working with the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to encourage businesses to provide mentors to schools, focusing on ways to improve employability skills, learn about jobs and careers, and motivate learning.
Improving health and wellbeing
The Luton Investment Framework (LIF) ensures wellbeing is central to every Council decision made which is why they transferred responsibility for commissioning and procurement to the public health team in 2016, and Health Impact Assessments are now carried out on all Council policy proposals.
A bid for £1.5m of Arts Council England funding to develop a cultural programme was successful and with the ever-increasing cultural offer, the Council has written a strategy targeting City of Culture in 2025.
Developing quality homes and infrastructure
In addition to the many aspirational and affordable housing developments brought forward in the last 12 months, the Council set up Foxhall Homes, its wholly owned housing company in 2016. It will develop seven housing sites and deliver hundreds of much-needed new homes.
There are also plans for an additional 70 acres of commercial development facilitated by a new 1.6-mile access road.
The Rogue Landlords project, with police and fire services, the Home Office and voluntary sector, has delivered 20 high-profile prosecutions in its first year improving the standard of private accommodation and tenant safety.
Supporting safe, strong and cohesive communities
The Council’s leading role in safeguarding children from radicalisation under Prevent has been recognised by the Government. The Prime Minister and Home Office Minister each made visits to Luton to learn more about our work, which also featured on The One Show and earned a handwritten note from the Security Minister. Our new Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers were officially launched in 2016 with their community safety accredited powers.
Integrated, efficient and digital service delivery
Through robust processes of challenge and prioritisation, £107 million has been taken out of the budget over the last six years, with more than 90 per cent of this achieved through efficiencies, reorganisation, smarter procurement and income to protect the frontline.
The Council Tax collection service already trades with other authorities and is now the third best unitary service in the country in terms of value for money.
Luton Access, a new service offering expert advice from a range of agencies under one roof, brings voluntary sector partners together to provide an innovative and integrated approach to independent advice and guidance.
2016 was a remarkable year for Luton with inspirational achievements across the Council and the town. This fantastic journey has been born out of a true ‘one town, one vision’ shared by both the public and private sector with strong leadership at every level.
Trevor Holden is the Chief Executive of Luton Council. Find out more about the Luton Investment Framework on the Luton website.