£20m redevelopment of Marsh Farm estate in Luton

Luton - major development plan Photo: ITV News Anglia

Council houses are making a comeback. Luton council says its leading the way. Its announced a new £20m development on the Marsh Farm estate.

The scheme will provide smaller flats to rehome people who are victims of the so-called Bedroom tax. And a new shopping centre to discourage anti-social behaviour.

It's hoped the facelift will help to transform the estate.

Marsh Farm Luton Credit: ITV News Anglia

It was built as a monument to modernity but now its time is up.

Purley House on Luton's Marsh Farm Estate is set to be demolished to make way for the new housing development.

One of the important things about it is, I know it doesn't sound a lot, but every piece of open space wil lbe able to be seen from the living room windows or the kitchen windows of every property and play on that green space andplay there and be looked at by their own house.

– Cllr Tom Shaw, Luton Borough Council

It's been 25 years since Luton built council houses but a change in rules - and funding - means this 20 million pound project can go ahead.

As well as more than 100 new homes, there will be a new shopping area to replace the Purley Centre.

From the Anglia documentary Credit: ITV News Anglia

Just a few years before Marsh Farm was built Anglia Television made a documentary about the thriving industry and dramatic growth of Luton.

The voice over says,"This large manufacturing town tenaciously straddles the Lea Valley almost as an intruder to rural Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

50 years on the town has changed. Many of the factories have closed. No longer a job for everyone. The site of one derelict factory has already been turned into a 10 million pound community building.

Campaigners welcome the investment but warn that developments shouldn't be used to paper over the cracks.

Maybe it's a case of if you can find 20 million for that then maybe you can find 20 million for the other problems as well so we can deal with the issues together.

– Steven Jacobs, Marsh Farm Outreach Project

The skyline of Marsh Farm has changed very little in 40 years But the economic landscape is barely recognisable As well as rebuilding with bricks and mortar - locals want the council to build prosperity here.