New Hatters stadium ‘would spark Luton town centre regeneration’

The Hatters hope to move into the new ground in 2020
The Hatters hope to move into the new ground in 2020

A new football stadium could spark the regeneration of Luton town centre, the Hatters have asserted.

Earlier this month Luton Town FC submitted its representations to the council on its draft Local Plan– in a bid to have the town’s blueprint list Power Court as the ideal location for a new Hatters stadium.

As things stand the Local Plan has the site pencilled in as a “convenient and attractive location in which to live, shop and be entertained”. It also has land off M1 J10a, which the club now owns, designated for a new 15,000 seater stadium.

The Hatters’ submissions, which the Luton News has unearthed, show that the club has placed a lot of weight on the wider implications of its plans.

According to the club, its plans for a 17,500 seater stadium, apartment blocks and community facilities on Power Court could kickstart growth in the town centre.

Its representation states: “The club is firmly of the view that the most appropriate site for a new stadium is in the centre of the town, where it will be at the heart of the community, highly accessible and will also act as a catalyst for regeneration.

“Recent research strongly indicates that town centre locations are often most appropriate for sports stadia and that new sports stadia can act as a catalyst for regeneration to help deliver long-term economic and social benefits to the immediate and surrounding areas.”

It adds: “Luton town centre provides a rare opportunity to enable the regeneration effects of the redevelopment can benefit the town centre while retaining the football club at the heart of the community.”

As well as making its case for Power Court, the club has told the council that M1 J10a is an unsustainable location for a new stadium.

The Hatters added that relocating to the edge of the town “could affect both the current status and future growth” of the club.

Luton Borough Council’s Local Plan will be signed off by councillors in March 2016, then submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

It is expected to be examined next summer before being adopted in winter 2016.