Luton Town Supporters’ Trust chairman hails ‘fantastic’ Newlands Park news but isn’t get carried away just yet

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The chairman of Luton Town Supporters’ Trust says it is “fantastic” that Newlands Park has been recommended for approval in the council officer’s report published earlier today.

Reacting to the news that this website first broke just after 1pm, Tony Murray was thrilled but was understandably cautious given the plans still have to okayed by Luton Council’s development control committee on March 11.

The officer’s report says that planning conditions attached to Newlands Park means Luton Town’s scheme is unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on Luton, St Albans and Harpenden town centres.

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And Mr Murray said: “I think it is really good news. It’s fantastic but it has still to be passed through the committee a week on Monday. Obviously we’re taking nothing for granted, councillors could object to it, but that’s a very rare occurrence [councillors going against an officer’s recommendation].

“I’m happy but I’ve been a Luton Town supporter long enough, and {you get used to] waiting for something to burst the bubble!”

He feared Mall owners Capital & Regional would seek to get the application called in by the Secretary of State and also seek a Judicial Review in attempt to scupper the development.

But he added: “Overwhelmingly the people of Luton want this and the town needs it. I just hope Capital & Regional take the opportunity to get on board. They need to get with the programme or get out of town. By objecting they are increasing the costs to the local taxpayer. They need to see this for the opportunity it is.”

Luton Town say the Newlands Park retail/office/leisure scheme near M1 J10 is vital to fund its Power Court stadium plan which was approved by Luton Council in January.