A council planning officer’s recommendation to approve Newlands Park is “another big step along the way” to the regeneration of Luton, says #saveourtown.

An artist's impression of Newlands Park

An artist’s impression of Newlands Park

Today (February 28) it was revealed that Luton Borough Councillors that sit on the development control committee will be asked to approve the mixed-use site at junction 10 of the M1, when it goes before them on Monday, March 11. 

The planning application put forward by 2020 Developments Ltd, the property arm of Luton Town Football Club, will deliver much-needed office space, leisure, entertainment and high-end retail to complement existing town centre shops.

It is the second standalone application put forward by 2020 after Power Court, which was granted approval by the council in January, signalling planning permission for a 17,500-seat stadium, music venue and other community facilities. That site is already being transformed into Europe’s single, largest urban street art project through #saveourtown’s Power in Paint project, in conjunction with Little Red Creative Studios.

Newlands Park will help fund Power Court at no cost to the taxpayer and the two developments will deliver 10,000 new jobs and £250million a year for the local economy.

Newlands Park has been fiercely opposed by Capital & Regional, the owners of The Mall shopping centre, which has extended the planning process for two-and-a-half years. But the news of the planning officer’s report is a big boost for thousands of Lutonians who do support the project. 

Nigel Green, chairman of #saveourtown, said: “This is absolutely excellent news, but to put it into context, it’s just another step along the path. 

#saveourtown chairman Nigel Green speaking to BBC Look East

#saveourtown chairman Nigel Green speaking to BBC Look East

“We’re not there yet because the planning development control committee haven’t met yet, but it is another big step along the way and it’s good news. There are no guarantees but, it would be highly unusual if it was turned down.

“This is not just about football. This is about the redevelopment of our town, which is sadly in need of regeneration. This opportunity has been presented to the council. It’s a golden opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it will turn the town around. 

“Property prices are rising here, developers are building flats as fast as they can, the airport is growing and there’s a new DART link being built from Parkway Station up to the airport. Luton is on the way up and this is going to be a great place to live. 

“The town is going to look fantastic and it will be a fantastic place to live, work and play. It is the missing link. It will come in and this will be a great place. I can’t wait for all of this to get up and running.”  

The meeting on March 11 will take place at Luton Town Hall from 4pm but the council has urged people to watch online via its live stream, which proved so successful during the Power Court hearing.

The council said: “We appreciate there is significant public interest in the application. For this reason, we have partnered with BBC Three Counties to provide a live stream so people can watch the meeting online as it is happening.”

The council has also published a webpage with useful information about the Newlands Park meeting, including how to watch it and frequently asked questions..