Luton Town Supporters’ Trust chairman has predicted Capital & Regional will use any delaying tactics they can to stall Hatters’ progress with Power Court and Newlands Park.
Speaking after Luton Council’s announcement on Monday that a “realistic” date for its Development Control Committee to determine the applications was four months away (w/c August 20), Tony Murray said he feared the owners of The Mall Luton would appeal at the last possible moment if councillors voted through the schemes.
C&R has said they now support the stadium plan for Power Court, but are concerned about the impact of the enabling retail/leisure/office development at Newlands Park on the town centre.
Last summer, as the main objector, C&R threatened to kick the applications “into the long grass”, and recently said they would would seek to get the applications called in by the Secretary of State, and a Judicial Review if that didn’t work.
And Mr Murray said: “It seems like a long period [the wait till August], but we’ve waited so long for a new ground that four months won’t make a big difference.
“The trouble is at the end of it, there is a six-week period that Capital & Regional can appeal and I bet they will leave it until the last minute so the whole thing is delayed as long as possible.
“It’s so annoying. It’s not just about the stadium, if Capital & Regional have their way there’ll be a big patch of ground in need of decontamination, arable land at Junction 10 where nothing’s happening and a plot of land [Kenilworth Road] for social housing with nothing happening.
“We need to stop Capital & Regional. We need to step up and stop them destroying our town. They are not interested in the people of Luton, they are trying to protect their cash cow. We need to save our town. We need to show them we won’t be messed about.
“We are going to make them realise how we feel. This is not just a football thing. It has much bigger implications in view of the 10,000 jobs [from the 2020 schemes].”
He feared a call-in of the schemes would add a two-year delay, but said he hoped the government’s policy for localism, where decisions are made by communities, would be followed.