Loyal Luton SC and Save Our Town demand answers from Luton Council over decision to reject the Hatters' lease for academy dome

Supporters group and campaign publish open letters
How Luton Town's academy dome might lookHow Luton Town's academy dome might look
How Luton Town's academy dome might look

Luton Town supporters group Loyal Luton SC and campaign group Save Our Town have written open letters to Luton Borough Council to ask for an explanation about why the decision was made to refuse the Hatters' application for a lease to build their academy dome at a derelict side on Cutenhoe Road.

In October, the council initially agreed to Town’s application for the facility which would allow them to play in the Premier League’s U23 development games programme, with the club also announcing plans to build 1,500 trees and shrubs at the site, but then rejected the decision at a meeting of the Executive on Monday night, despite no formal reason being given yet.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hatters' CEO Gary Sweet has labelled the ruling as 'unfathomably peculiar', while penning a letter to the council, Kevin Rouse, Chairman of Loyal Luton Supporters Club, said: "With the breaking news earlier today regarding the unfavourable decision by Luton Council to not grant a lease agreement to Luton Town Football Club in relation to the training dome facility at Cutenhoe Road playing fields, after planning permission was granted back in October 2019 the question is, WHY,WHY,WHY?

"The people of Luton, the supporters of the football club, as well as the board of directors of Luton Town Football Club deserve a better response from the council other than the one offered which was, the land is needed for educational purposes.

"What has happened since planning was granted to now?

"Why the sudden change and overturn a decision which would benefit the whole town and also help LTFC in its long term aims in supporting football in this town and the community going forward.

"Without knowing the inner thoughts of the minds of the people who sit on the executive of the council who came to this decision perhaps they will come forward with a detailed and coherent rational answer to their bizarre overturning of the planning decision back in 2019, its the least they can do.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It must be remembered that LTFC were yet again going to invest a lot of money on this site, upwards of one million pounds, as well as helping towards the councils climate change action plan with around 1500 trees to be planted on the site as well as all the benefits that would come with a first class training facility for local school children and the community at large.

"This would not cost the tax payers of this town a penny.

"Now the tax payers will be footing any bill to open up the land for the so called “educational purposes”.

"This project must be something very special if the council are willing to spend tax payers money without actually saying what this is! Its all very mysterious and really is showing the council executive is completely out of touch with the people of Luton!

"Everyone outside the corridors of power in the town hall will demand a proper response, and quite rightly so. We will be awaiting that response."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Meanwhile, the Save Our Town committee also published their own letter, which read: "We are extremely disappointed at the Executive Committee decision to refuse a lease option to 2020 Developments Limited for land behind Cutenhoe Road.

"Your reasons for the refusal, a) to keep the land for educational purposes b) consistency in decision making raises other important points that need to be answered.

"Living in these straightened times with the council planning an emergency budgets to raise funds, the approval and agreement of these lease terms would bring much needed cash flow to the council.

"To not accept this revenue stream the council is acting negligently, irresponsibly and is putting poor reasoning before the needs of the people of Luton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The benefits of the dome far outweigh the reasons for refusal of the lease.

"2020 Developments Ltd in their planning responses have promised use of the land for schools on a daily basis.

"Surrounding schools are extremely happy with this arrangement and it fits in with the government agenda of physical fitness and mental wellbeing being a priority.

"2020 have also offered a 12-month lease break which means the council doesn’t have to commit the land long term!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"This firm commitment goes much further than the Council’s general and vague comment to ‘keep the land for educational purposes.

"The ‘consistency having to be maintained’ reason towards a previous applicant wanting to lease the land is questionable.

"As we know, times change and the council needs to move with the times, in this extraordinarily difficult financial period a precedent can be made to counter the argument.

"The job of a Councillor is to represent the people of Luton and do what is best for them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The Save our Town Committee believe this decision is not in the best interest of the people of Luton or Luton schools.

"There is a bright future ahead for Luton helped not only by the football club but other major developers.

"We urge Luton Councillors to shake off their selective myopia and work with 2020 Developments Ltd to sort this impasse and do what is best for our town and its residents."

Related topics: