Luton Town supporters’ groups have called on the Mall’s owners Capital & Regional to attend a public meeting in the town, after accusing them of declaring ‘open war on the people of Luton’.
The property management firm have been long term opposers to the Hatters’ plans to build a mixed scheme at Newlands Park, which the club need to finance a new stadium at Power Court.
Both plans were given the green light by Luton Borough council this year, who also rejected out of hand attempts by C&R's legal team to overturn those decisions this week.
With C&R threatening to apply for a Judicial Review into the ruling as their last course of action, which could cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds, both Luton Town Supporters’ Trust and Loyal Luton Supporters Club have decided to act.
A joint statement released yesterday by Tony Murray (chairman of LTST) and Mark Bradbury (chairman of LLSC), said: “So it has come to this. After years of dispute and delay, Capital and Regional – operators of the Mall – have declared open war on the people and communities of Luton.
“The very people they claim to serve, and whose hard-earned money goes to pay their fat salaries and multi-million bonuses.
“Even after last minute appeals by MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker – and a robust rebuff of the spurious claims C&R made in their pre-action protocol letter by Luton Borough Council and their specialist legal team – C&R are about to apply for a Judicial Review against the already-approved plans for Newlands Park.
“Plans which will drive the eagerly-anticipated regeneration of the town centre at Power Court and provide fantastic new facilities at Junction 10.
“Plans passed by our democratically elected Council, and waved through by our democratically elected Secretary of State.
“Plans that everyone apart from one faceless corporation is desperate to see put into action. They’re nothing to do with Luton. This is OUR town, not C&R’s.
“They have put nothing into our town as their cash cow at the Mall has yielded them fat dividends for years.
“Lutonians have seen their town centre spiral downwards as C&R’s directors bank balances spiral upwards. Even now, as their business model collapses and their share value crashes, they continue to pocket huge payments.
“Who is paying the price? Us. That’s who. The delaying tactics of C&R have cost LBC – and therefore every local tax payer – hundreds of thousands of pounds in planning process costs.
“They have prevented the estimated £250million a year that Power Court and Newlands Park will bring to the town from beginning to be realised.
“Now they’re on the cusp of going for a Judicial Review, which will cost Luton Borough Council between £500,000 and £1million or more to address.
“Like all the other millions they have cost us, that is money which should have been going into schools and public services, supporting our communities and every one of us, from toddlers to old folk. And this at a time when council budgets have been cut to the bone.
“How dare they. They have declared war on the people of Luton. They have refused to talk to local media. They failed to turn up to the planning application hearings for Power Court. They won’t say a word about their application for a Judicial Review.
“C&R are showing complete and utter contempt for Luton and Lutonians. For the democratic and legal process. For our elected representatives. For the 11,000 people who wrote or emailed their support for the Newlands Park and Power Court. For you and for me. For our families.
“Well, enough is enough. We are here and now giving them one last chance.
“Come and meet with us C&R. Have the honesty and decency to explain your actions and outline your plans for Luton at a public meeting, here in the town you claim so falsely to serve.
“We’re ready. Are you C&R? If not, the gauntlets come off. You have seen nothing yet in terms of Luton’s response to your attempts to destroy the future for our home town.
“It’s still not too late: open your eyes to what fantastic benefits Power Court and Newlands Park will bring to us all, yourselves included. Close them, and you won’t see what’s coming.”