Hatters CEO confirms plans for a new stadium at Power Court are advancing at a 'blistering pace'
The plans for Luton Town's new 17,500 stadium at Power Court are advancing at a 'blistering pace' according to Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet.
Fresh outline proposals were submitted by 2020 Developments (Luton) for the multi-million pound scheme recently, without the stadium, covering instead the areas either side of it.
The application is for 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.
It was unanimously passed at a Luton Council development management committee last night, with the final plans for the stadium due to follow early next year.
Speaking at the meeting, Swett said: "Whilst this application really focuses on the wider uses of Power Court, its true benefit can’t be fully understood without consideration for our new football stadium.
"Our plans and designs are advancing at a blistering pace. We fully intend to submit the detailed application to you in the first half of next year.
“Everyone at the club is behind its creation and it’s our number one priority right now.
"Indeed, by working so hard on the stadium design, we think that we’ve made the whole site work much better together, making it more compact and integrated to the wider area.
“The stadium will not be a run-of-the-mill bowl that you see everywhere else.
"The value engineers everything and also turns back on its district.
"It will be unique to football, unique to Luton where it will incorporate the very best of the town’s heritage and character, acting inclusively for greater social cohesion for the residents of Power Court and the wider town centre."
“We can absolutely be trusted to deliver on this vision and we’re happy to make the necessary legal commitments of the section 106 agreement."
Asked if the commitment exists to sign a legal agreement guaranteeing the stadium scheme would be brought forward subsequently, Sweet continued: "Absolutely. Excuse the terminology, but I would be happy to sign it with my own blood.
"This runs through not just my veins but everyone on the board and who works for the football club.
"It's our absolute one desire that we've had probably since childhood."
Seeds of doubt had been sown in the minds of borough councillors after revised plans to transform a 21-acre brownfield site in the town centre appeared before them minus a key ingredient, the football ground itself.
Reassurances about this ambition were asked for, as the local authority's development management committee considered the changes to the east and west sections of the project.
2020 Developments chief operating officer Michael Moran added: "The size of Power Court is almost extending the town centre by half.
"We've spent the best part of a decade to assemble the site at Power Court and it's a public record of how much has been spent.
"But it's substantially in excess of £10m.
"It would have been insane to have undertaken such a venture without being fully committed to the football stadium."