#saveourtown has blasted the owners of The Mall shopping centre for insulting the intelligence of Lutonians after releasing a statement of ‘contradictory gibberish’, which claims that plans to transform the town centre will ‘never deliver the stadium’ proposed by Luton Town Football Club.

Luton Town FC supporters demonstrate against Capital & Regional during the club's civic ceremony in St George's Square in May 2018, after securing promotion to League One

Luton Town FC supporters demonstrate against Capital & Regional during the club’s civic ceremony in St George’s Square in May 2018, after securing promotion to League One

Last week it was announced that planning applications for Power Court and Newlands Park – submitted in August 2016 by 2020 Developments, the property arm of the Hatters – would be decided on January 16 and 30, respectively.

Major objectors Capital & Regional, the London-based retail group, released a statement on Monday saying they had submitted a ‘full development appraisal of 2020’s proposed Newlands Park scheme to Luton Borough Council,’ concluding that the scheme would lose £130million a year and is not viable.

This is despite consistent Capital & Regional objections over the last two-and-a-half years that Newlands Park – a mixed-use scheme by junction 10 of the M1, one third of which is high-end shops to complement existing town centre retail, but two thirds leisure, hotel and office space – would harm their business.

In response to Capital & Regional’s latest obfuscation tactic, #saveourtown chairman Nigel Green said: “It’s an outrageous insult to the intelligence of Lutonians and another doomed attempt to undermine confidence in our own ability to determine a brighter future.

“It’s contradictory gibberish to maintain that Newlands Park is both a threat to The Mall and now claim it is financially unviable.

“Quite frankly, no-one cares that they’ve paid their own consultants to produce reports in their favour, over regeneration proposals that are not theirs. It is a desperate act of a company that is fast becoming unviable as a business. What we do care about, because it is very serious, is that an absolutely colossal and costly waste of time and Luton taxpayers’ money has been spent responding to Capital & Regional’s vexatious objections.

“They are trying to play God with our children’s futures, by standing in the way of progress and insisting that they know best, without being in possession of all of the facts and the plans.

“They are effectively trying to tell Lutonians and local people that we don’t need the prosperity of a £261million a year economic boost, 10,000 new jobs, new homes and community, leisure and entertainment facilities to be proud of.

“The people of Luton need to be very angry, if they are not already, as Capital & Regional are demonstrating contempt and arrogant disregard towards us.

“You’d have thought they might have more important things to worry about, because their share price has just hit an all-time low, dropping seven per cent on Tuesday (December 11) and, in just over 12 months, it has plummeted from 53 pence a share to 32 pence.

“We’d laugh if it wasn’t so serious that they’re continuing with this charade of having ‘offered to work with 2020 and Luton Council on numerous occasions’, when they were recently exposed by the football club for breaking the terms of confidential meetings where they only offered options that hit taxpayers in the pocket.

“This is the antithesis of 2020’s existing proposals, which would not cost Lutonians a penny, but offer economic and social benefits the like never seen before in our lifetimes.

#saveourtown members during a public engagement event outside The Mall, Luton

#saveourtown members during a public engagement event outside The Mall, Luton

‘We cannot make it any clearer to Capital & Regional that their input is not needed or wanted.

“We have sought to run a respectful and positive campaign that focuses on our town, its people and its potential, while raising awareness of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by the two regeneration schemes. However, the continuous, vexatious and disingenuous activity that Capital & Regional has indulged in may require more robust and direct action in the future.

“With the self-immolation of their reputation and a share price sliding into oblivion, Capital & Regional should be listening to advice, not trying to dish it out.

“Our suggestion is that Capital & Regional need to stop their pathetic crusade against Luton or, better still, if they have so little respect for Lutonians, just go away and never come back.”

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