The new North Stand at Franklin's Gardens © Northampton Saints/Peter Haddon Partners
Club News New North Stand at Franklin’s Gardens given green light
Plans for the expansion of Franklin’s Gardens have today (Tuesday, January 28th, 2014) been approved by Northampton Borough Council.
Following an extensive public consultation and pre-planning process, Northampton Saints submitted a full planning application at the end of October for a new North Stand that will see the total capacity of Franklin’s Gardens be increased to over 15,500, a 20 percent rise on the stadium’s current size.
The Saints are currently enjoying the longest consistent run of success in over 50 years, reaching six finals in successive seasons – including the 2011 Heineken Cup and 2013 Aviva Premiership finals – and having a host of current international players in the squad. This season the Saints are still in contention in all three competitions, lying second in the Aviva Premiership table and reaching the knockout stages of both the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup.
This success is reflected in the attendances at Franklin’s Gardens, with the stadium being filled to in excess of 95 percent of capacity year in, year out and with half the home games played so far in 2013/14 having had the ‘sold out’ signs hung well in advance of the match day itself.
Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, says that it is fitting that the Saints has a venue worthy of the team’s current status.
“The Saints team is made up of top class internationals and some of the brightest young players in world rugby,” he commented. “The team represents our town proudly every week as they compete for domestic and European honours. So it is only fitting that they play in a world class stadium that can be a fitting venue for some of the biggest matches in club rugby.
“A larger stadium not only gives more supporters the chance to cheer on the players in black, green and gold, but will be a significant boost to the local economy.”
Saints chairman Tony Hewitt says that the expansion of Franklin’s Gardens will help take the club to a new level of long-term sustainability and success, and thanked the Northampton Borough Council leadership for their support of the project.
“The new North Stand is vital for the long-term growth of the Saints,” he said. “The additional capacity gives more people from across the town, county and beyond the opportunity to watch some of the best players in England play rugby, while the growth in revenues will allow us to increase our re-investment into the playing squad and maintain the recent levels of success we have enjoyed.
“Everyone at Franklin’s Gardens has worked extremely hard to get us where we are, and the new North Stand will help us stay at the top end of the most competitive league anywhere in club rugby.
“There is also the knock-on benefit to the local economy, with up to two thousand additional people coming into the town to watch rugby creating a potential increased footfall for businesses in and around the town.
“I’d particularly like to thank David Mackintosh and the rest of the Borough Council’s leadership group. Since coming into office they have worked positively with us in every aspect of the project, including providing the wherewithal for the loan which will fund the expansion.
“We have now drawn down these funds to take advantage of the competitive interest rate which is fixed for the length of the loan, and over the next year will take the project to the next phase, including putting all the details in place for a competitive tender, and to be ready for the new North Stand to be built in the summer of 2015.”
For more details on the plans (Ref N/2013/1133) please visit www.northampton.gov.uk/planning