Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Town's M1 Newlands Park project recommended for approval

Newlands Park Image copyright 2020developments
Image caption The development near junction 10 of the M1 will be a mixture of retail and leisure space

Plans to develop land next to junction 10 of the M1 to help pay for a new football stadium have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The Newlands Business Park will help finance Luton Town's proposed 23,000-capacity ground in the town centre, which was granted planning permission by Luton Borough Council in January.

The League One club said it was "delighted" by the recommendation.

A final decision by the planning committee will be made on 11 March.

Mixed-use

Luton Town have played at Kenilworth Road for more than 100 years and the proposed new stadium at Power Court is part of a development which includes bars, restaurants, a 1,800-capacity live venue, a hotel and car park, and 550 apartments.

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

Newlands Park is due to be a "mixed-use development" of retail and leisure near the motorway, which Luton Town say will "serve as a gateway to the town, improving the perception and standing of Luton across the country and internationally".

In a final report, planning officers have said the floor space at the park cannot be occupied until significant work on the stadium has been completed.

Opponents have said the development could have a negative effect on businesses in the town, but council officers said it is unlikely to have "significant adverse impact" on Luton, St Albans and Harpenden town centres.

In a statement, the football club said: "The two sets of plans were submitted in August 2016 but our enthusiasm and commitment for both schemes has never wavered.

"We are clear in the opinion that Newlands Park can make a tremendous positive contribution to the town's vitality and local economy, both in real terms with thousands of new jobs created and also in the way it generates many millions of pounds each year for the borough.

"We are, of course, delighted to have got this far and thank everyone for their support and patience."

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