The bulldozers have moved in to clear the site of a former car showroom in Luton town centre to make way for new affordable homes being built by Hightown Housing Association.

The completed development will replace the redundant building in Castle Street with 69 one-and-two bedroom flats across three blocks around a landscaped central courtyard.

It’s close to the main shopping centre in Luton, making it a great location for employment, shopping and public transport.

Hightown, a charitable housing association aiming to help people unable to afford to buy or rent homes at market values, is building a mix of affordable homes on the site.

It’s Hightown’s first ever development in Luton, and is being built with the help of a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

The new homes will be important in the regeneration of Luton and help local people struggling to find an affordable home in their own community. Last year, house prices in the town rose at the highest rate in the country.

According to the Halifax, Luton recorded a 19.4% increase in average house prices in 2016, with the average price rising from £214,934 to £256,636. This was the biggest percentage increase seen in any of the UK’s major towns and cities. While figures from Zoopla reveal that the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat in the town is currently £827.

Hightown also hopes to offer more affordable homes for people in Luton with a 49-home development it is proposing to build on the other side of the town centre in Charles Street, in the area aptly known as High Town.

It has applied for planning permission to develop 31 two, three and four-bedroom houses as well as 18 one and two-bedroom flats on a site now occupied by warehouses.

Hightown Development Director George Edkins said: “There are more people being priced out of the market in Luton every year and we’re delighted to get the chance to turn the empty Castle Street site into a vibrant development of modern and affordable homes.”