Luton Town’s Power Court stadium has been labelled a potentially “great venue” by a Central Bedfordshire councillor.
The football club’s applications were raised at a meeting of Central Beds Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday.
Conservative Dunstable Icknield councillor David McVicar asked if the schemes should be mentioned during the executive members’ updates.
“I hesitate to mention Power Court and those areas in Luton which impinge on Central Bedfordshire, although it’s not directly run by us,” said councillor McVicar, who chairs the committee.
“Newlands Park is on junction 10 of the M1, which means there will be traffic issues coming into southern Central Bedfordshire.
“So it is of interest to us to know the result of that and the knock-on effects from that.”
Conservative Dunstable Watling councillor Nigel Young said: “Power Court did get planning permission from Luton Borough Council about ten days ago, which is great.
“It’s great news for Luton. Lots and lots of supporters in #saveourtown, which is the action group on Facebook, are delighted that Power Court has been granted.
“It could be a great venue with both residential, some retail and the football club, of course,” explained councillor Young, who’s the executive member for regeneration.
“But the difficulty Luton have faced is the allocations in the Local Plan are the wrong way round.
“So what was allocated for Power Court was a retail and residential development, not a football stadium.
“And what was allocated for another site in the ownership of the football club, Newlands Park, was as a sporting venue.
“So what the future of Luton Town hinges on is as much the permission which has been granted for the football stadium at Power Court, which is a pretty much run down derelict area of Luton right in the centre, as the retail scheme.
“That development hinges entirely on successfully gaining planning permission for Newlands Park,” he added.
“Newlands Park is a retail-led scheme, an out-of-town retail park, and you will all be aware that Debenhams is having problems, Marks and Spencer is closing stores, including in the centre of Luton.
“So there is considerable resistance from the owners of The Mall shopping centre, Capital and Regional, to another retail park on the edge of, and competing with, the town centre.
“Luton Borough Council and the football club have agreed a deferment so further consideration can be given to the application. They’re both very inter-dependent. Power Court I believe is entirely dependent on a successful development at Newlands Park.”
> Luton Borough Council has not yet announced a date for the Newlands Park retail/offices/leisure scheme to be determined.