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Saints submit full planning application for new North Stand

The full planning application has been submitted for the new North Stand © Northampton Saints

Club News Saints submit full planning application for new North Stand

Northampton Saints today announced that a full planning application has been submitted for consideration by Northampton Borough Council for a new North Stand at Franklin’s Gardens.

The new North Stand will both increase the capacity of Franklin’s Gardens to over 15,500 and complete the 12-year redevelopment of the stadium bowl.

The full planning application includes the replacement of the current Sturtridge Pavilion, the heart of which has stood for nearly 50 years. Also being replaced are the current control room, TV studio and 1st aid room.

In their place will be an all-seated North Stand that will accommodate an additional 1,926 supporters in state-of-the-art facilities, including a ground floor public bar and two floors of hospitality suites and boxes. The stand will also incorporate an improved control room and a new 1st aid room.

The proposals are also designed to be inclusive, with full disabled access, dedicated viewing areas on all floors, and welfare and toilet facilities to meet current standards.

Meanwhile in the Church’s Stand a new TV camera gantry will be built, along with an extension of the club’s media facilities to accommodate the increased interest that comes with having a team which has competed at the top end of the Aviva Premiership and in the senior European competition for a number of years.

Over the past three years extensive discussions have been conducted with all stakeholders, including a public consultation in July 2012.

Following these discussions a number of alterations were made to the original designs, with additional big screens, toilets, disabled viewing spaces and car parking. The design of the stand’s exterior has also been refined to match the remainder of the current stadium, to minimise overhanging of adjoining properties and to avoid overlooking neighbouring houses.

Saints chairman Tony Hewitt says that a great deal of work has been done to make the planning application for the new North Stand as comprehensive as it can possibly be, and that the submission represents an exciting step along what has been a long road.

“At the recent Season Ticket Holder Forum we pledged to have a full planning application submitted by October 31st, and we have achieved that deadline,” he commented. “After many years of hard work, plenty of frustration and positive consultation we are ready to take a massive and exciting step along the road towards completing Franklin’s Gardens.

“The planning application takes into account every factor in what will be the most complicated project we have attempted. Access is restricted, we have had to purchase some land from Beacon Bingo.

“There is also the demolition of the Sturtridge Pavilion itself, again the first time we have had to remove a brick structure to build a new stand. And all of this has to be planned to take place during the three months of a close season.

“So while we can all appreciate that there has been plenty of talk and little obvious action over the past four years, I can assure all our supporters that we have been putting as much in place as we can in order to submit the full planning application and arrange the £5.5 million financing needed for the development. We have all had to be patient and I’d like to thank our supporters for their understanding.

“We now need to obtain the planning consent and then during 2014 take the next steps in the project management process of value engineering, appointing contractors, and putting defined plans in place ready for the stand itself to be built in the summer of 2015 for us to be able to capitalise on a successful Rugby World Cup and entrench Franklin’s Gardens’ place as the home of rugby in the East Midlands.”

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