#saveourtown is facing “a hugely critical week” as we prepare for crunch talks with Luton Borough Council about the current stalemate over Power Court and Newlands Park.
This Wednesday, #saveourtown will meet for “a full and frank discussion” with the local authority’s leader, Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE, deputy leader Cllr Sian Timoney and Laura Church, the director of planning and regeneration, over the lack of progress on a planning decision, two-and-a-half years after the applications were submitted.
This comes after our chairman, Nigel Green, said that the delay is “absolute madness” when he was interviewed on BBC Three Counties radio (fast forward to to 1 hour, 51 minutes, 22 seconds) this morning (Monday, December 3), along with #saveourtown backers Gavin Shuker MP and Tony Murray, the chairman of Luton Town Supporters’ Trust.
Newlands Park, by junction 10 of the M1, is needed to finance the development of Power Court at zero cost to the taxpayer, but together they would mean an annual boost of more than £250million to the local economy, 10,000 new jobs and a host of exciting new facilities to rejuvenate the town centre. These include a 1,800-capacity music venue, a 17,500-seat football stadium for Luton Town Football Club, bars, restaurants and community, leisure and entertainment facilities.
A planning decision date was originally set for August 20, but then scrapped, and the expectation has been that a new date would be set before the end of the year. But, with little over four weeks left, there has been no confirmation of a planning meeting which will determine whether Newlands Park and Power Court are approved.
We welcome the chance to discuss the situation with the council’s top politicians and the director in charge of the planning process, at the Town Hall.
Nigel said: “Lutonians have been patient over Newlands Park and Power Court because we know that there have been delaying tactics by the major objector to the scheme and, in light of this, Luton Borough Council have had #saveourtown’s tacit support.
“But that patience is running out amongst our supporters and the town in general, who feel left in the dark, without any proper updates and no end in sight, more than two years after the planning applications were submitted.
“That is making the council an easy target for disaffection and leaving people feeling that elected politicians don’t understand the enormity of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to totally transform Luton, nor the catalyst it will provide for further investment and regeneration without public funding.
“Mostly, the people of this town just want answers about the delays and date for a planning decision that will be respected.
“This is a hugely critical week for the future of our town, so we’re delighted that Hazel Simmons, Sian Timoney and Laura Church have agreed to meet with us. As well as relaying the questions and concerns of local people, we look forward to a full and frank discussion about the progress that Lutonians want and deserve.”
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