Luton Town Football Club has made a deal with Venue 360 to settle its new training ground in Luton there.
Grassland situated on the former site of the Vauxhall Recreation Centre, west of the River Lea, will become a private 17-acre facility used as daily base for the Hatters’ squad. It will be known as ‘The Brache’.
But the announcement was met with dismay by groups that use the centre’s facilities.
Luton Athletic Club claim that they and other groups were suddenly told by bosses at the centre that they could no longer train there.
Rosie Keen told the Herald & Post: “It’s very short notice and we weren’t consulted about it at all. It’s the lack of warning that’s the main thing.
“We met for training at Luton Athletic Club only to be told that as of the next day we would no longer be able to use the training facilities at the back of Venue 360.
“We were told it had been taken over by Luton Town Football Club and they were going to develop it into a training ground.”
Her concerns were echoed by Gary Nash of the drama group, Griffin Players, who said they were “fighting for their survival”.
Mr Nash said: “The Luton Town purchase of Brache Estate land for a training academy means that many sports teams and the Griffin Players will lose their facilities.
“We have been associated with the Vauxhall Recreation Club since the mid-1930s and because of this deal we will be forced to break this tie against our will.”
Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet said: “This is a major step forward for Luton Town Football Club.
“It cannot be underestimated how important this development at The Brache is to our long term football aspirations.”
Venue 360 CEO Jon Reep, who would not answer questions on the fate of clubs who have been evicted, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Venue 360 to support Luton Town’s vision of creating a first class training facility.”
But Rosie Keen claimed the deal was not true to the site’s original purpose.
She said: “That area was actually gifted to Vauxhall by Lady Zia Wernher as part of the Luton Hoo estate.
“It was supposed to be used as a recreation ground for the community in Luton, not professional sports players.”