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Council rallies behind Luton stadium project

English League One football club Luton Town has received a boost in its long-running efforts to develop a new stadium with the news that the local council has recommended the project for approval ahead of a meeting scheduled for next week.

Luton, which currently sits second in the third tier of English football, first submitted the plans for a 17,500-seat stadium, which has the potential to expand to 23,000, in August 2016. In December of that year, the club’s 2020 Developments (Luton) property arm agreed a deal with British Land PLC to acquire its freehold interests in ‘Power Court’, the site of a former power station in the centre of the Bedfordshire town.

Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee will determine 2020 Developments’ planning application at Power Court for a new stadium and associated leisure, lifestyle and retail facilities, at a meeting on January 16. However, ahead of this meeting a council report has backed the project stating that it presents a “major regeneration opportunity”.

However, the BBC notes that the stadium is set to be paid for by a separate development at the Newlands Park site, for which a report is yet to be published. This proposal is due to go before the council on January 30, but has been met with opposition from those concerned over how it would affect businesses in the town centre.

The new stadium project will also include a 1,800-capacity live events venue, bars, restaurants, a hotel and 550 apartments. The Power Court site was redeveloped in the 1970s for a mix of manufacturing and general industrial uses. The site is now vacant and the buildings and structures, which previously occupied the site, have been demolished.

Luton has been based at the 10,300-seat Kenilworth Road since 1905.

Image: 2020 Developments