Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Town stadium decision due in new year

The plan for the new stadium Image copyright 2020developments.
Image caption The plan for the 23,000 capacity stadium is on the site of a former power station at Power Court in the centre of Luton

A decision on whether Luton Town can build a new stadium will be made next month, more than two years after the planning application was submitted.

Plans for the Power Court stadium in the town centre, lodged with the council in August 2016, will be considered on 16 January.

A decision on the club's development at Newlands Park, which will fund the project, will be made on 30 January.

Luton Borough Council said it had had to ensure it was a "robust" process.

Deputy leader, Labour's Sian Timoney apologised for the delay and said there had been "so many different aspects that have slowed it down".

"We appreciate this has a been frustrating period for fans, but there has been a lot of information submitted from a range of parties and our priority has always been about ensuring a robust and thorough process is followed," she said.

'Technical detail'

The football club, which has played at Kenilworth Road for more than 100 years, wants to build a stadium with up to 23,000 seats, bars, restaurants, a 1,800-capacity live venue, hotel and car park and 550 apartments on the Power Court site.

Image copyright 2020developments.
Image caption If the stadium is built it will start with a capacity of 17,500, but it is planned to expand to 23,000 if the club is promoted

It hopes to fund the project with a retail, leisure and office site on land it owns at Newlands Park, near junction 10 of the M1.

Opponents have said Newlands Park could have a negative affect on businesses in the the town centre.

Ms Timoney said the main reason for the delay was due to getting "really good quality legal advice" in order to avoid a judicial review.

"We have got to make sure we've buttoned down everything so that the challenge is less," she said.

She added that the decisions on the developments were two weeks apart because it had to treat each application individually and while the Power Court application was ready, Newlands Park needed longer.

Luton Town chief executive officer, Gary Sweet, said the club was "absolutely delighted" it had "reached another step closer to our ultimate aim" and thanked the council for its "diligence in their efforts to get to this stage in the arduous process".

"Naturally, we've felt frustrated by the length of time it has taken since we submitted our applications... but we can now look forward to a positive outcome next month enabling us to plan the realisation of changing the fortunes for our club and our town for good," he said.

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