Hatters’ new stadium plans to be submitted tomorrow

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet

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Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet has confirmed the club will submit its planning application for a new 17,500 capacity stadium at Power Court tomorrow (Thursday).

As part of the application, Hatters will also put forward their plans for a mixed use development land at Newlands Park as well, which is intended to raise the funds needed for the new ground.

“Once it goes in we sort of turn a corner. It doesn’t stop there though, we carry on, and we work with the planning officers to make sure that everything is understood.”

Gary Sweet

Speaking to the Luton News at Luton’s new kit launch on Friday, Sweet said: “People often think that an outline application is a red line on a piece of paper with some back up documentation, this is completely different.

“Not only because it’s two sites and the two sites being quite huge with a lot of accommodation, but there’s a couple of complex issues on each site of course, particularly with Power Court and things like the river and the station.

“So the number of reports and assessments we’ve got to provide with that application is quite extensive and a lot of these things will be exposed to the public anyway.

“So when people see the amount of work that has gone into it, I’m sure everyone will be suitably impressed and see what we’ve been doing for the past few months.

“Once it goes in we sort of turn a corner. It doesn’t stop there though, we carry on, and we work with the planning officers to make sure that everything is understood and we make sure that any of their queries or concerns are also considered.

“It’s an ongoing continuous process and then hopefully we’ll know at the end of the year, the beginning of next and then it’s a completely different era for Luton Town Football Club.”

On what happens now, Sweet continued: “The officers have a duty and have got a job to do, we’ve got to respect that. It’s a different course of action, the planning officers have got to look at the plans from a perspective of compliance and there are laws of the land, policies to adhere to and they’ve got to make sure that it all fits.

“So we’ve got to help them to do that, and also make any tweaks or changes where we can have, improvements, or make sure we increase the probability of success in the planning application and we’ll do it.”

Sweet was also delighted with the exhibitions held at the club recently in which he and the likes of architect Manuel Nogueira were all on hand to show over 4,000 people who visited, just what the plans would entail.

He admitted that some of the ideas received at the events, would make it into their final application, adding: “It was absolutely phenomenal and part of the process, and specifically the reason why it’s called pre-application consultation is that you listen to people, listen to their concerns, take them on board.

“If you feel like they’re sensible and don’t compromise your designs or your viability too much then you make some changes and we have actually made a couple of tweaks.

“There are people that while they supported it fully, made one or two minor suggestions that we’ve taken on board.

“We can’t possibly think of absolutely everything, I think we thought of most things, so there’s two or three that we’ve had a little tinker with.

“But we’re grateful for that as it means that we’re improving and finessing and making that application a little bit better and the end product a little bit better.”