49. Luton Town Centre De-culverting

Theme: Promoting appropriate and sympathetic land management


  • Improve existing wildlife corridors
  • Increase the amount and quality of habitat

Project description

Luton Borough Council and the Catchment Partnership are keen, where possible, that the current culverted sections of the river are brought back to the surface both for people to enjoy and for the health of the river environment. 

These opportunities will through redevelopment of certain town centre sites that will help progress a new town centre masterplan.

One project that received planning permission in December 2020 was for change of use of the former Silver Street car park to create a new external public open space. The scheme involves opening up the existing River Lea and landscaping the overall site.  The banks on either side of the river will be terraced to enhance the existing land form and will be formed out of gabion baskets filled with a dark flint stone and the areas planted with appropriate species.

Entrance Silver Street

Above - entrance to current culverted section at Silver Street.

An element of interest linked to this work is the presence of Black Redstarts in the town centre  These are a nationally important species and it is hoped that de-culverting will lead to an increase in invertebrates which will benefit the species.  Also designs for surrounding buildings  and new planting along with design of the banks of the new opened up sections of river can be developed to provide suitable nesting, perching and roosting spaces.

An element of de-culverting will take place via the Power Court project.

Project lead: Luton Borough Council
Project partners: Luton Borough Council, developers
Funding source: Luton Borough Council, public sector grants, developers

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.