Revised plans for sections of Hatters' Power Court site will go before Luton Council later this month

Central stadium part of the land won't be involved in discussions at this stage

Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:04 pm

Revised plans to transform a brownfield site in Luton town centre as part of the Hatters' Power Court stadium project are being recommended for approval.

Outline proposals have been submitted by 2020 Developments (Luton) for the multi-million pound scheme, but without the portion of land for the 17,500 all-seater stadium involved in discussions at this stage.

The 21-acre site has been divided into three for now, with the east and west sections due to be considered by the borough council's development management committee on October 27. A separate full application is due to be submitted at a later date for the stadium and central facilities.

The east and west sections of Power Court

These areas on either side include a mixed-use development with residential accommodation, retail outlets, a health centre and community uses, as well as food and drinking premises, parking, landscaping and river works.

In detail, according to a report to the committee, this allows for: up to 1,200 residential properties; up to 1,700sqm for health care and or community uses; up to 5,600sqm of retail, food and drink and other commercial uses, such as offices; up to 1,200 parking spaces; and access, highways and other associated works.

The original planning permission was granted on September 24, 2019 for a mixed use development, including a community stadium with a capacity of up to 23,000 and up to 550 residential units across eight blocks, said the report.

Spectator and media facilities, conference rooms, and catering and commercial space would be provided in the new football stadium.

That application also featured an entertainment, music and conference venue, up to 2,800sqm of educational, community and commercial floorspace, hotel accommodation, a supermarket and up to 10,800sqm of retail, and food and drink premises.

"The main difference between the new application and its predecessor (aside from the omission of the stadium and the central area) are amendments to the works proposed for the River Lea," explained the report.

"The river will continue to be de-culverted in a number of sections. But it will now follow the natural river course, remaining in a culvert under the stadium.

"Under the earlier approved plans the River Lea was to be diverted alongside St Mary’s Road, although it wasn't proposed to form a fully open river course.

"The current outline submission also removes the podium arrangement which spanned most of the site.

"It also seeks to double the number of flats previously proposed, half the retail and food floorspace and provide a defined health care or community use."

The site was in industrial use for many years, and is hemmed in on one side by the Luton to Dunstable busway and to the south by St Mary’s Road, the report added.

"The west end of the site contains Power Court car park, while a furniture store and associated parking were also located there until recently.

"The east end is currently unused former industrial land. The culvert was constructed in the 1960s when the site was originally redeveloped from a power station to light industrial units.

"Other historic uses of the land include a fire station, boiler and engineering works, coal depots and an electricity generating station."

Councillors are being recommended to approve the development and be satisfied that an accompanying environmental impact assessment (EIA) meets the statutory requirements.