Luton is faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regenerate our town centre with two major regeneration schemes at Power Court and Newlands Park.
Together they will transform our town boosting the local economy by £250million a year and creating 10000 new jobs. And importantly they will act as a catalyst for further regeneration.
The two schemes – from Luton Town Football Club’s property arm 2020 Developments Ltd – include a 17500-seat stadium a 1800-capacity music venue bars restaurants entertainment and leisure facilities prestige office space and high-end retail that does not currently exist in Luton.
However despite the overwhelming support – including a UK planning record 11000 people who wrote in support to the council at the consultation stage back in 2016 – these plans are being delayed by a legal challenge.
Capital & Regional the owners of The Mall shopping centre have applied by to the High Court for a judicial review which could scupper hopes of a bright new future for our town and cost Luton taxpayers up to £1million to defend in court.
With a General Election coming up on December 12 we have written to all the local candidates to become the Member of Parliament for both Luton South and Luton North asking for their stance on these proposals.
We are a strictly apolitical community group so we will publish one unedited response a day, as and when we are sent them, and released in the order they were received by us. Here is Linda Jack, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Luton North….
The Power Court development is hugely important for both the football club and the town. Speaking as someone who was not only a Golden Goal Girl at Kenilworth Road in my youth (how many of you are old enough to remember us?!), but also ran a fan club for Alan Slough – Eric Morcambe was our honorary President – I fully understand how important the football club is to the town. The move from Kenilworth Road, while painful for many fans, is vital to create a brighter future for the club and the wider town.
Power Court itself will see an area of our town centre that has been left empty and unsightly for so long, completely rejuvenated.
With offices, restaurants and a new music venue, it will provide a great addition and reason for people to visit our town centre seven days a week, not just biweekly. Not only that, it’s positioning right next to our train station and central bus-stops means it has a huge advantage on most new football grounds in actively encouraging the use of public transport to games, which is vital in the climate emergency that we face.
Power Court also allows the redevelopment of Kenilworth Road for housing, at long last, providing a brown-field site for housing that is much needed in the town.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to regenerate Luton and how it is viewed, both internally and externally, something which Luton Liberal Democrats agree with whole-heartedly. Therefore, if elected, I will do all that is in my power to support the project.