Luton Town ST & Loyal Luton Statement – 17th October 2018

Statement from Luton Town Supporters’ Trust and Loyal Luton Supporters’ Club

 

A MOMENTOUS WEEK OF VICTORIES FOR LUTON IN THE BATTLE AGAINST CAPITAL & REGIONAL

This has been a momentous week for Luton and 2020 Developments in the battle against Capital & Regional’s disgraceful opposition to planning applications which will ensure we achieve regeneration for your town and a new stadium for your football club.

  • First, we hear confirmation of the purchase by 2020 Developments of the final ‘packages’ of land around Power Court from Luton Borough Council.
  • Then, Intu, one of the biggest owners of shopping malls and retail property management in the UK, withdraws its objection to the Newlands Park development which will fund our new stadium.
  • Meanwhile, Capital & Regional, operators of The Mall, the remaining major objector to regeneration for Luton, has seen its share price continue to tumble….and 2020 Developments CEO Gary Sweet publicly debunks C&R’s suggestion that they have offered cash or ‘in kind’ support for Power Court. Yet another example of C&R being ‘economical with the truth’!
  • Finally, it is revealed that C&R’s claimed support for Power Court is based on using taxpayers’ money to fund the development, which is both laughable and outrageous, given that 2020’s regeneration plans will be funded entirely by the private sector.

It’s been a really positive week for all of the communities in and around Luton who massively support the plans for Power Court and Newlands Park, with the 10,000 new jobs and £250million annual boost to the local economy they’ll bring – along with new facilities and attractions we can all be proud of.  With the new land purchases the whole Power Court site is now under one ownership for the first time in many a decade. And the funding was from existing 2020 Development shareholders – not from the public purse (take note, C&R!).

This means that what we’re all waiting for now is the ‘green light’ of planning approval from LBC– and a significant potential obstacle to that has also disappeared this week, with Intu withdrawing its objection to Newlands Park.

Intu Properties is one of the biggest retail property landlords in the country, operating major shopping malls including those in Milton Keynes and Watford. They had ‘highlighted issues’ and objected to Newlands Park in 2016 and May 2018. Now they’ve seen the recent retail reports on the applications, they are ‘comfortable with the suggested mix of tenants’ and ‘with the distinctive aspirational mix of uses, Intu is prepared to withdraw its previous submissions made in relation to these proposals’ (quotes are from a letter to LBC from Intu’s official agents, Lichfields).

Intu’s status and integrity as market leaders makes these statements even more impressive and authoritative. It is pretty much unprecedented in the sector for an objection to be withdrawn like this. Intu had genuine concerns for the impact on the communities they serve, they looked into those concerns and found them to be satisfactorily answered. That’s what a decent, responsible organisation does.

What a contrast with Capital & Regional’s response to those retail reports!

Intu says that the ‘retail impact on the centres within the surrounding region can be sustained’. C&R says it can’t! So who are we to believe?

Anyone familiar with what has been happening over the last two years will know that C&R has been employing all sorts of dirty tricks and misinformation to – in their own words – kick the regeneration plans for Luton ‘into the long grass’. Recently those dirty tricks and delaying tactics have included lots of last minute requests to the council for additional reports and information. It would be interesting to know how much dealing with that has cost the public purse – that’s us, the Luton taxpayers and the communities C&R laughably claim to care about.

Speaking of the public purse, Gary Sweet’s letter highlights yet another example of C&R misinformation and malpractice. They stated in last week’s Luton News that ‘We have previously offered to help support 2020’s Power Court application and we take this opportunity to re-affirm that offer once again.’

Not so! Gary’s response starts by saying that ‘we do not need any further assistance in funding our stadium’. It goes on to point out that Luton Borough Council’s CEO chaired a meeting in April which all parties agreed would remain confidential but that on a number of occasions C&R has broken that agreement.

That has led to Gary needing to directly respond to the C&R claims – and what a damning response it is.

It seems that C&R are of the opinion that funding for the stadium could come from other sources rather than the Newlands Park mixed-use development…but that every source of funding they suggested ultimately came from the public purse. Not their money, but ours, in the shape of additional taxation of local businesses or the general public. So much for them ‘helping’!

2020 are rightly proud that that they have never, and will never, ask for public funding for Power Court and Newlands Park. Gary Sweet goes on to say that they have never had any funding offers made to them by C&R – neither do they need them.

Unlike the operators of The Mall, 2020 Developments are all about supporting the communities of Luton: with a new stadium for the football club, new facilities and a new pride in the town centre and a state-of-the-art ‘gateway’ to the town, all of which will generate thousands of new jobs, boost local finances enormously and make our town an even better place to live in. All at no cost to local taxpayers.  As fans of LTFC and of the town we all love, we can’t wait for it all to happen!

Here’s to more good news over the coming weeks!

Tony Murray, Chair Luton Town Supporters’ Trust

Mark Bradbury, Chair Loyal Luton Supporters Club

 

PS Great to see the #saveourtown banners and campaign featured on Sky TV, too – live from Barnsley!

 

Comments

  1. Patrick lynch says:

    Fantastic news from Intu, does that not put an spanner in the works for C & R they should now withdraw their objections too and face up to the facts presented by a much bigger organisation than them , it is going to happen.

  2. Chris DREW says:

    I’ve been waiting for many a year for this to happen. It could actually happen in my live time. He’s to 2020 keep rolling along. K.T.F(keep the faith)

  3. Obviously Intu had ‘concerns’ about NP, and, in my view, had every right to launch an ‘objection’! However, once they had viewed the independant reports on potential ‘impact’ on other retail not too far away, they was ‘satisfied’ and BIG enough to withdraw their objection, subject to, I believe, ‘final’ confirmation of the retail tenant list for NP?

    I wonder what C & G would ‘prefer’: to have a ‘tiny’ cake ALL to themselves, or ‘half’ of a big cake?

  4. The long road to our dream is nearly here

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