Red-letter day for Hatters as stadium plans get thumbs-up


Luton Town update Jan 2020 Image: Luton Town FC

The Luton Town Football Club based in Luton, England, is free to go ahead with its plans for a new facility at Newland Park. The club’s plans for a new stadium had hit the speed breaker after Capital and Regional, owner of Luton shopping center – The Mall – had called for a judicial review on the stadium plans.

A press statement on the club’s website stated that just before Christmas last year, Capital and Regional’s call for a judicial review on the Newlands Park planning approval was dismissed. A new 17,500-seat stadium for the club is being planned.

The Luton Council informed the club that the High Court has confirmed that no appeal has been made within the deadline against the pre-Christmas decision to dismiss Capital and Regional’s demand for a judicial review.

Luton revealed that Capital and Regional has “given up on contesting the decision further”.

In March 2019, Luton Borough Council’s development control committee ruled that plans for the Newlands Park project should be green lighted after the club was granted permission to build a new stadium on the Power Court site in the previous January.

Luton said in a statement, “We would like to thank all of our supporters for their patience and constant support throughout the whole process. That goes especially to those groups who have been actively supporting our developments throughout this long road, including Luton Town Supporters’ Trust, Loyal Luton Supporters’ Club, Save Our Town and others whose unwavering backing and faith has helped produce the best result possible.”

The statement further read, “Like the council, we will now be taking action to pursue the legal costs incurred – while looking forward to many more memorable occasions in our final seasons at Kenilworth Road before moving to our new home at Power Court.”

The statement stated, “Along with our colleagues at the Council, we always believed that their decision in March 2019 to grant permission for the mixed-use development at Junction 10 was fair and not open to challenge. The judge agreed on December 19th, 2019, and finally Capital and Regional have given up on contesting the decision further.”

The statement stated, “This means we are finally able to move forward in refreshing the four-year-old plans to enable us build a new stadium for the football club, and play our part in helping to regenerate our town with two developments that will bring thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of investment. This is a ground-breaking day – securing victory in by far and away the biggest battle we’ve faced throughout the 11 years of 2020s custodianship.”

An elated town Chairman David Wilkinson hailed “the most important day of the club’s history” as the Hatters finally reached the end of their long-standing battle with Capital & Regional over plans for a new ground Power Court and mixed-use scheme at Newlands Park in UK.

Wilkinson further said, “It’s fantastic, but it’s one of those things where you almost expect everything to go wrong until the last minute. They’ve dragged it on for so long and it’s cost us so much time and money that it’s slightly unreal really. But it’s wonderful, as since I’ve been a fan for 62 years now, we’ve been talking about it, or the club has.”

“It’s probably the most important day of the club’s history really as we know we couldn’t survive without it. I see it as a fan, I still pinch myself when I go into Kenilworth Road, as a fan, it’s for all of us,” he exults.

“I don’t think of it as being the Chairman, it’s all us together. Gary Sweet (Chief Executive) and Mike Moran (Development Director) have done all the hard graft, along with all of the consultants, the lawyers, and it’s fantastic news,” he stated.

He sang paeans of praise for the judge who said in her response that the challenge had been based on a “few paragraphs”.

The club has been playing at the 10,300-seat Kenilworth Road Stadium since 1905.

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