Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Town fans claim shopping centre owner has 'declared war'

Arrtist's impression of new stadium Image copyright 2020developments
Image caption The development at Newlands Park will help finance Luton Town's new 23,000-capacity stadium

Football fans say a shopping centre owner has "declared war" on the community by opposing plans that hold the key to a new stadium.

Luton Town hopes to move to a new ground, but its plan relies on finance from new leisure facilities and shops.

However, Capital and Regional, owner of the town's Mall shopping centre, is taking legal action, arguing the proposal could harm local business.

It has declined to comment on the fans' claims.

In a joint statement, Tony Murray, chairman of Luton Town Supporters' Trust, and Mark Bradbury, chairman of Loyal Luton Supporters Club, said: "C&R are trying to stamp all over the will of the people.

"How dare they. They have declared war on the people of Luton."

Image copyright 2020developments
Image caption The proposed development near junction 10 of the M1 would be a mixture of retail and leisure space

Luton Town's 23,000-capacity town centre ground at Power Court was granted planning permission by Luton Borough Council in January, and plans for the Newlands Business Park on land near the M1 approved two months later.

The Newlands development would include offices, a hotel, park and ride and retail and leisure facilities.

The Power Court project also includes a live venue, leisure and retail facilities and homes.

The fans' groups are unhappy that the company wrote to Luton Borough Council saying it would be applying for a judicial review, arguing the council's decision was flawed and the granting of planning permission unlawful.

Capital and Regional said it would not comment on the fans' statement, but that it had "consistently" offered to meet 2020 Developments, the firm behind the football club's plans, but had been rebuffed.

Luton Town has declined to comment.

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