A campaign has been launched to support plans by Luton Town to build a new ground in Power Court and a mixed use scheme at Newlands Park.
Called #saveourtown, the campaign is aiming to demonstrate the backing for the double planning applications to be passed by Luton Borough Council in the week commencing August 20, which would see a 17,500 stadium built, plus retail, hotel, and office facilities, creating over 4,000 jobs, the latter currently being opposed by Mall owners Capital & Regional.
A record number of 11,000 people supported the plans when the application from 2020 Developments was submitted in August 2016, while local MPs, councillors and the wider community have also stated their support for the developments to get the green light.
An official statement from #saveourtown believes it is critical for the future of the town that the proposals go ahead, as on just why both are needed, it read: “(To) Put an end to stagnation and bring much needed regeneration to the town.
“Create a new football stadium and associated developments at Power Court to revitalise our town centre, which, at present, is closed by Capital & Regional and The Mall every evening
“Provide a different shopping and leisure experience on our doorstep at Newlands Park so that the Luton pound stays in Luton.”
“Introduce a gateway to the town that Lutonians can be proud of and will attract future investment."
If Capital & Regional, who have previously revealed they would 'kick the projects into the long grass' continue to block the proposals, then what that would leave Luton with, the statement continued: “A contaminated and derelict site at Power Court. Unused arable land at the entrance to the town.
“A crumbling football stadium on a site in one of the most deprived wards in the country which could be used for desperately needed housing.
“A town centre which is closed by Capital & Regional every evening, which in turn destroys the night-time economy."
On why the campaign has been launched, press officer Lauren Archell said: “This is our town, not Capital & Regional’s. We have had enough of outsiders who have no interest in Luton ignoring us, abusing us and exploiting us. For the sake of present and future residents, it is time for action.
"This is not just about a football stadium. If Capital & Regional get away with blocking this development we will be left not just with a crumbling stadium, but a stagnant town centre, a derelict and contaminated town centre site, an ugly field at the entrance to the town and miss the opportunity to build much needed housing.
"We cannot let Capital & Regional do this to us. We must save our town."
The campaign has already got the booking from Luton South MP Gavin Shuker as he tweeted: “Save Our Town has my full backing. C&R can't hold the town to ransom; let's get LTFC moved!”