Power Court is a key gateway into Luton from the east thanks to its proximity to the main modal transport hub – which includes the guided bus, the bus interchange, and the main train station.
While 400 parking spaces will utilised on match days, the stadium will encourage visitors to use public transportation. In addition to the improvements proposed to the train station, a new shuttle bus service will be provided on match days in order to reduce the number of car journeys made into Luton town centre.
The Framework Stadium Travel Demand Management Strategy is targeting a 10.7% reduction in private vehicle trips.
Open and green spaces
In terms of greenspace and other natural assets, Power Court lies in a wider area of greenspace access deficiency. Castle Street (See image below), located to the Southwest of Power Court was specifically identified in the Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (2003) for its deficiency in greenspace.
Although greenspace coverage across Luton is reasonably good, Power Court is in a wider area of access deficiency. Of particular importance is the Site’s proximity to High Town – an area recognised by the Council as being both deficient in greenspace access and suffering from social deprivation.
Power Court is located in Luton’s Green Infrastructure Network (see Figure 13.5 in Appendix 13.5). Though there are currently limited habitats for birds, bats and a lack of trees onsite, there are significant opportunities to provide enhanced ecological value and new wildlife habitats where they are currently very limited in terms of quantity and quality.
The River Lea will be deculverted in accordance with Local Plan requirements, and supported by an appropriately designed greenway. Deculverting the river will reduce local flood risk by decreasing the incidence of underground blockages, and will help to establish a more comfortable microclimate by reducing the Urban Heat Island effect.
The site is at low probability of fluvial, surface water, groundwater, reservoir, and foul water flooding. However, the Site is located in a Critical Drainage Area due to the risk of fluvial and or surface water flooding from the River Lea which bisects the site. Sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) will be implemented, where possible, to reintroduce natural drainage systems into the Site and greenways will also be implemented.
Passive design measures, such as low U-values, use of insulation, high-performance glazing, external shading, good practice airtightness and use of exposed thermal mass will all be considered as part of Site-wide strategies to reduce energy demand first through building design.
The opportunity to generate low and zero carbon energy on site will be explored in detail at the next stage. Potential options for renewable energy generation to be explored include: PVs, solar water heating, ground source heat pumps, biomass heating and wind turbines.
The site benefits from accessibility to green spaces and parks, namely Stockwood Park, and future development must retain this linkage.
A major feature of the new development will be a green “leisure roof” over the retail park that links the leisure area in the north to the office and hotel cluster in the south. This feature is envisaged to serve two functions: first, to reduce the visual impact of this significant development on the surrounding landscape, and second, to be a landscape element in its own right with the associated environmental, ecological and amenity benefits.
The possibility of stormwater attenuation on the landscaped roof of the retail park is being explored. Artificial lakes are also to be created as part of the landscaping of Newlands Park, which are also designed to act as retention ponds. This will act as a Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) and reduce stormwater runoff.
At present, transport methods are limited. The closest existing bus stop is 350m away along London Road, and additional routes approximately 1km from the site. The closest rail station is Luton Airport Parkway which is approximately 3km to the east of the site
Improvements to the existing infrastructure include the creation of 3,600 car parking spaces on site, and new bus stops will be provided within the site to make bus travel more attractive, with proposals to bring bus routes through Newlands Park.
Improvement works at Junction 10a have already begun and now provides an unsegregated footway/cycleway along the London Road to connect to an existing footpath along the eastern boundary of the site. It also includes a footway/cycleway that connects the new northern roundabout to the Capability Green Business Park and follows the A1081 Airport Way. The latter improves connectivity to the existing high-quality walking and cycling network, which links south Luton to the town centre.
The target in the Newlands Park Travel Plan is to reduce private vehicle trips by 5%.
The proposal seeks to achieve BREEAM ‘Good’, which is equivalent to the performance of the top 50% of the UK’s new non-domestic buildings. Similar methods of energy reduction and possible energy generation will be implemented from the build stage as those outlined for Power Court.