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Northampton Saints has been in a consistently strong financial position for well over a decade, having recorded profits each year since 2000 - the only professional rugby club to do so anywhere in the UK.

Maintaining this financial independence is a key pillar of the club's strategy, which is why considerable time has been put into seeking suitable funding streams.

Although enabling retail development remains the club's first option, the Saints board of directors is also well aware that the development needs to take place sooner rather than later to ensure that the club is not left behind by its competitors.

As such, the club has entered into formal negotiations with Northampton Borough Council over the provision of a £5.5 million loan that would fund the new North Stand. By the summer of 2014, Northampton Saints plc will have paid off all debts from preceding stadium developments, and will therefore be in more of a position to take on such a loan.

The club has worked hard to put itself into a position where a full planning application can be submitted without any further delay, including having all of the plans drawn up, conducting a full public consultation and pre-planning submissions, and completing important deals to purchase the land at the north end of the stadium which would enable the stand to be built.