Luton Town have vowed to meet with any groups disrupted by the club’s plans to relocate their training facilities to Venue 360.
On Wednesday it was revealed the Hatters had secured a long-term lease for a new training ground on the former site of the Vauxhall Recreation Centre and they would be looking to move from their current Ely Way base by the end of 2016.
“We will do all we can to help those affected find alternative venues and potentially offer time-specific access to the facilities at The Brache.”Luton Town
The announcement was met with dismay by some groups that use the centre’s facilities, with Luton Athletic Club claiming they and others were suddenly told by bosses at the centre that they could no longer train there.
However, Luton have now confirmed they will do everything possible to help clubs find alternative surroundings, as a statement on the club’s official website said: “Further to Wednesday’s exciting news of the completion of a lease providing the potential for first class training facilities at ‘The Brache’, we are aware that the announcement has raised concerns among the various sport and activity groups who currently use the facilities as historical tenants of Venue 360.
“Ultimately, it is not Luton Town Football Club’s place to deal with other parties whose tenancy agreements with Venue 360 may result in their groups and associations having to relocate as part of the deal.
“However, we have realised that our commercial agility to invest in our ambition has potentially meant others haven’t been able to compete, leading to some level of disruption to Venue 360’s existing customers.
“As part of the deal we are funding the replacement of the three existing five-a-side courts at Venue 360, with use of the existing courts continuing until the replacements have been built.
“In addition, as a community oriented football club we will do all we can to help those affected find alternative venues and potentially offer time-specific access to the facilities at The Brache, working around the safeguarding issues that are understandably crucial when children are using the venue.
“Working together with the owners of the facility, Venue 360, Luton Town Football Club hope to help provide solutions that will see certain affected groups, associations and individuals who may find replacement facilities difficult to find, continue to exist and flourish at a hugely exciting time for the area.
“In the coming weeks, Luton Town Football Club officials will contact those groups that we are aware of and invite them to meet and discuss their issues as part of that ongoing process.”
Meanwhile, the club also hope by moving to ‘The Brache’ will only improve their impressive conveyor belt of young talent coming through the academy to play for the first team.
The statement continued: “The club’s progress will be aided significantly by a seven figure investment plan from Luton Town Football Club to upgrade the facilities, not only with regards to the first team competing in Sky Bet League Two but for all of our academy teams and the local community as a whole.
“Future generations of young footballers will be using the renovated artificial pitches for many years to come, with up to 100 players in the Town’s Academy teams from Under-8s through to Under-16s developing their skills there every night.”
On why Town have taken these steps to move now, with Venue 360 their chosen desination, the statement added: “It became a necessity for Luton Town to relocate its training facilities from Ely Way for a number of reasons.
“The current Ely Way site isn’t capable of being developed into a training facility which could be the home for a successful professional team and our entire academy.
“It is also public land, meaning we couldn’t educate our academy children on site.
“The club had options to relocate elsewhere in the region but, strategically, we felt it was necessary to firmly contain our base in Luton.”