Hatters’ new stadium location to be revealed soon

Gary Sweet

Gary Sweet

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Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet has revealed that supporters should know the whereabouts of Town’s new stadium by the time the 2015-16 season kicks off.

In his boardroom notes written for Saturday’s official matchday programme with Hartlepool, Sweet wouldn’t name where the preferred site was, but admitted plans were making real progress.

“By the time we kick off the new season we should be ready to announce the location and provide details of the broader enabling development.”

Gary Sweet, Hatters chief executive

He said: “I’m in a position to be more specific, having passed another important project milestone in the last fortnight which allows me to further expand where we are in the process.

“I’m sure you’re all eager to learn where our new home will be, what it’ll look like and when we’ll be moving.

“What I do need to explain is that due to the complexities of football stadium development in general that the laborious nature of the project shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Consequently, for reasons of commercial confidence and to protect the project’s probability of success, I apologise that I’m not in the position to expose the specific details of our preferred site just yet.

“Indeed we are still taking the precaution of looking at how our objectives might work on more than one site while we plough through the more technical components of the qualification process.

“By the time we kick off the new season we should be ready to announce the location and provide details of the broader enabling development.”

On what important breakthroughs have been passed in recent weeks too, Sweet went on to say: “Firstly, we have obtained an encouraging support for our plans amongst the Labour Party group members at Luton Borough Council after a series of initial engagements.

“We have now formally entered the pre-application stage with the Council’s planning office, but regardless of how much work has been accomplished so far, the strict formalities of the planning process means we still have significant work to do before our application can be assessed appropriately by the planning officers.

“Further to these developments, thanks to the astonishing generosity of those wonderful people closer to home, we are now in a position to buy land, secure the best possible professional advice from specialist consultants (to design and build the scheme) and to see the application process through to the receipt of consent.”

Finally, Sweet also spoke of what the club needs to do next, adding: “We will need to restructure the company - both to ensure that we protect the club during this historical phase and to allow for independent partnerships with compatible companies to help us achieve our goals.

“Similarly we intend to hold forums with the Trust and other supporters groups prior to submitting an application to consult on certain aspects of the stadium. For example, the working capacity of the stadium is likely to be governed by the shift in behaviour towards public transport. I’m confident some very constructive defeats and helpful debates could be held about that.

“With the cordial and progressive nature of the relationship between Luton Borough Council and Luton Town Football Club, I am confident we can accomplish something that has been looming for almost 60 years.”