Local Plan changes would back up Hatters’ rejection of stadium near M1

Hatters have submitted plans for Newlands Park near J10 which include offices, retail and leisure
Hatters have submitted plans for Newlands Park near J10 which include offices, retail and leisure

Lutonians are being invited to comment on the proposed main modifications to the Luton Local Plan 2011-2031, which includes ruling out a Hatters stadium near Stockwood Park.

Currently, the Local Plan officially makes provision for a football ground at land south of Stockwood, but Luton Town has made it clear that it will not build a stadium on the site near M1 Junction 10.

The proposed modifications says the land should be allocated as a “prestige gateway business development”, but strikes out the reference to relocating the Hatters there.

The club submitted a double proposal for a new 17,500 ground at Power Court along with a scheme for land adjacent to Junction 10, to include offices, retail space, a hotel and leisure amenities, which were validated on the Luton Borough Council website back in August last year.

Of Power Court’s future the Local Plan modifications state: “The following uses are all acceptable in principle as components of a mixed use development; housing, convenience and comparison retail forming a retail, leisure, cultural and entertainment uses and B1 offices.”

Luton residents and businesses are now being invited to comment on all the proposed main modifications to the Local Plan.

A Local Plan sets out local planning policies and identifies how land is used, determining what will be built where. Once finalised the Local Plan is the starting point for consideration of all planning applications.

The modifications are now open for public consultation until Friday, May 26. This consultation only focuses on the proposed changes to the plan.

Cllr Paul Castleman, portfolio holder for planning, said: “Local peoples’ views are vital in shaping a Local Plan, helping determine how their community develops.

“Following the Public Hearing sessions which took place in Luton between 19th July 2016 and 12th January the council is asking for comments on proposed changes to the Plan.”

Go to https://consult.luton.gov.uk/portal to view and comment and to find out what happens next.

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet has recently said the club is doing all they can to make their plans for a new stadium at Power Court ‘virtually unchallengeable’ to anyone who might oppose them – with Mall Luton owners Capital and Regional the key opponents.

Although the club had been hoped a decision on the planning applications would be reached by the early part of this year, it now appears no news will be known until the summer.