A campaign group says that tonight’s historic decision to grant planning permission for Power Court is only “half time” in the quest to #saveourtown. 

Annartist’s impression of the Power Court stadium which now has planning permission

Annartist’s impression of the Power Court stadium which now has planning permission

Luton Borough Councillors this evening listened to the will of an overwhelming amount of Lutonians in approving the planning application for the major town centre regeneration scheme.

It is an historic decision because, for the first time in more than 60 years of trying, Luton Town Football Club has been granted permission for a new stadium.

Nigel Green, chairman of #saveourtown, said: “Lutonians have dreamt about Power Court for two-and-a-half years since the applications were submitted. Hatters fans for even longer because, over the course of six decades, the football club has tried numerous times to move to a new stadium, all unsuccessfully. That can now change. 

“We love Kenilworth Road, which has been the Hatters’ home since 1905, and while it will be with a heavy heart that we watch our last game on that hallowed turf, a move to a 17,500-seat stadium in the centre of Luton will afford our hometown club a sustainable future.

“But this decision is about much more than football. It’s the first of two crucial votes for the start of a bright new future for Luton.”   

As well as a stadium, the approval of Power Court has also green-lit a plan to rejuvenate Luton town centre site with a 1,800-capacity music venue, bars, restaurants, a small niche cinema, leisure and entertainment facilities, a public piazza that will bring the subterranean River Lea to the fore, homes, a hotel, retail and car parking.

Green added: “This is one of the most important decisions in the proud history of our football club and our town. We’re 1-0 up but it is only half time because our attentions now turn to January 30 when  councillors give their verdict on Newlands Park.”

The site at junction 10 of the M1 motorway is a second regeneration scheme submitted in 2016 at the same time as Power Court by 2020 Developments – the property arm of Luton Town FC – and it proposes much-needed office space, leisure facilities and high-end retail to complement the existing town centre offer. 

However, this scheme has been heavily opposed by Capital & Regional, the owners of The Mall shopping centre, who claim that it will adversely affect their precinct. 

Green added: “We are thrilled that Power Court has been approved and while we’ll allow ourselves a small amount of time to celebrate, tonight’s decision will ultimately count for little if a positive decision for Newlands Park does not follow on January 30. 

“That is a decision that will leave a lasting legacy on our town and signal whether our councillors truly believe in the progress that Lutonians all want and deserve.

“Now we say to our elected representatives; you’ve done it once, now go out there on January 30 and do it again.”