BREAKING: Luton Town schemes delayed again, but council says retail impact report is a ‘major milestone’

An overview of the plans for Newlands Park
An overview of the plans for Newlands Park

Luton Council has this morning announced it won’t be able to consider 2020 Developments’ planning applications on w/c August 20 due to a delay in receiving a council-commissioned retail impact assessment for Newlands Park.

But the council says the independent consultants report has now been received and says “a major milestone” has now been achieved. The report is due to be published on the council’s website later this week.

Hatters fans have faced an agonising wait since the plans for a stadium at Power Court and enabling development of office/retail/leisure at Newlands Park were first submitted in August 2016. And in April this year the council finally gave the w/c August 20 date for the plans to go before councillors.

A council statement said: “One of the crucial pieces of information we have been waiting for is a Retail Impact Assessment of the Newlands Park proposal, which is a requirement for out-of-town retail developments. This report was produced by independent external consultants and took longer than we anticipated.

“We are pleased this document has now been finalised and will be published on the council’s website this week for a six-week public consultation. We are allowing two weeks longer than originally planned due to the recent increased interest in the retail element at Newlands Park. Again, as all along, this is about ensuring that the process is robust and thorough.

“Following this, responses will be analysed before the final Development Control report and recommendations are written and published, and a new committee date set.”

Laura Church, Corporate Director for Place and Infrastructure at Luton Council, added: “I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding. We know there is a lot of public interest in these major applications, but it’s been important all along that the correct process is followed.

“I gave the August 20 date in good faith, based on what we knew at the time. Put simply, the independent report took longer than we thought it would.

“Given the increased interest in the retail proposals in recent weeks, we are anticipating further comment on the Retail Impact Assessment during the consultation period.

“While we can’t set a new date without knowing what will be raised or need analysing, the publishing of this document is a major step forward as it means we are now in the final stages of the process.”

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