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Luton Borough Council

04/09/2020 - Luton Council reviews Conservation Area

Following recent consultation, the council’s Executive (17 August 2020), agreed to update the name of the Plaiters’ Lea: The Hat District Conservation Area and extend the boundary.

The Conservation Area, which sits between the railway station to the north and the Mall to the south, contains a number of buildings related to historic Luton’s straw and felt hat making industries.  The area retains the character of an artisanal quarter in much the same way as the Birmingham Jewellery quarter or the Northampton Boot and Shoe quarter.

The council is required to review its conservation areas from time to time and the renaming of the area as ‘Plaiters’ Lea: The Hat District’ better reflected the historical links of the conservation area, and the name would be clearer for residents, businesses and visitors. Councillors also agreed that the boundary should be extended to include 42-60 Guildford Street at one end and the vacant lot currently used as a car park at the junction with Church Street, adding further historic properties to the area and giving it a clearer boundary. They also approved the Management Plan, which will be used to guide future management of the area.

Cllr Paul Castleman, Portfolio Holder for Planning said “I am delighted that the area has been renamed the Plaiters’ Lea: The Hat District as this reflects the local name for the area – ‘the Hat District’. The Cultural Trust Luton has paved the way through its redevelopment of the Hat Factory and Hat House, along with plans for Hat Works on Guildford Street. 

“The council has launched an exciting project to reopen the River Lea on Silver Street – with the Management Plan and along with the emerging Town Centre Masterplan we can build on these foundations to rejuvenate this historical area into a lively centre for the arts, life and business.”
© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ