Sweet utterly convinced Power Court will happen

The Power Court Stadium modelThe Power Court Stadium model
The Power Court Stadium model
Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet is convinced that the club will get their dream move to Power Court.

The Hatters submitted a double proposal in August for a new 17,500 stadium along with the mixed use scheme on land adjacent to Junction 10 of the M1, Newlands Park, including offices, retail space, a hotel and leisure amenities.

It still remains with the council’s planning department for their decision, as a confident Sweet said: “For me, it’s going to happen. What I can’t tell you is when.

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“We’re not going away, we’re not quitters. We lost out in the play-offs this year, but that doesn’t make us think, ‘oh well, we’ll see if we can find another football club to give it a go, or another industry to see if we can get our kicks, get some profit.’

“We don’t do that, we’re Luton, this is our town, this is our time, so from that point of view, we’re not going anywhere.

“I don’t care who tries to oppose what we’re doing, it’s going to happen as far as we’re concerned.

“We’re going to stick by it and stick by supporters, stick by the community, stick by the town and we’re going to make it better.”

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One of Town’s main opponents to the proposals are The Mall owners, Capital & Regional, with senior executive Ken Ford making a series of arguments against the football stadium being situated at Power Court in a recent interview with BBC Three Counties Radio.

However, on the fall out since, with support rallying behind the Hatters, Sweet continued: “We were expecting them, but listening to the interview and listening to the reaction, I was very, very pleased with the reaction as the football club weren’t involved at all in that.

“So it’s a natural reaction from the community of Luton and that was very, very pleasing.

“I don’t think there’s an awful lot in what Capital & Regional were saying that we haven’t already answered.”

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Sweet also went on to give the latest update as to when he expects a decision to be reached on whether Town will see a green light on their ambition to move home, saying: “We’re in that position where we’re closing off the final technical details of the application itself.

“There’s one or two little elements to it, but we’re broadly done and then it’s down to the council’s planning officer to write his committee report that goes to executive committee and planning committee at some point in the summer, so we’re not very far away.

“The council have been very supportive in this whole thing to us, challenging as well, very, very challenging and they need to be.

“That’s not a complaint, they absolutely need to be, because they need to get it as right as we do.

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“So they need to make sure that everything is absolutely nailed down, before they make their recommendation.

“I don’t know what recommendation they’re going to make, I don’t know what decision is going to happen at the town hall, but I think they’d be mad, wouldn’t they, not to?

“As I think certainly the politicians see the benefit of what we’re trying to deliver for the town and the impact that will have on the longer term.”

Although Sweet remains optimistic, he knows the club’s future in terms of the new stadium is out of his hands now, adding: “I am (confident), but as a football club and a development company, we can’t do very much now.

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“This is the people’s choice at the end of the day. The council work for you, and when there’s a third party that opposes what we’re trying to do, then there has to be a fourth party that objects to that opposal, and I think that’s happening.

“It’s not just Luton fans by the way, the amount of communications we’ve had from residents in Luton and people outside Luton, people who are interested, who are so keen for this to happen for their town.

“We know the support is there, but people can’t rest on their laurels and think this is a done deal.

“Even though I’m confident, people can’t think this is a done deal.

“Because it really isn’t, but it is your town, it’s our town.”