* indicates required

Chamber backs Hatters’ plan for new stadium

The club has been trying for 40 years to move out of its current home at Kenilworth Road and is currently planning for a site near junction 12 of the M1 at Harlington.

Wherever the new stadium materialises, it would raise the county’s profile on a regional, national and international basis as well as provide a new venue for exhibitions, conferences and other business activity, said Cheryl Smart, director of corporate services at the Chamber.

“It would be an iconic landmark for the area,” she added.

Supporters are campaigning to keep the club within the borough boundaries, with a long-preferred site at junction 10 of the M1 at the top of their list. However, planning restrictions and the motorway widening programme have put progress on hold.

The site preferred by the club’s board is at Harlington and could be ready in 2009 subject to planning approval. However, new chairman David Pinkney has not ruled out a return to the site at junction 10.

Mrs Smart (pictured) said: “We have to accept that the club has to go where the space is. Ideally it should be in Luton and the best option was at junction 10. But, if we do not have the space within Luton, then the stadium has to be as near to Luton as possible.”

A new stadium would add significantly to the county’s bid to attract new companies to the area. “It would make a huge difference, especially if it had multi-usage,” she said.

With the Olympics coming to London in 2012, Mrs Smart said that having the stadium ready for the Games might also bring benefits and events to the county.

More from Bedford: