23 May 13
While prop Alex Waller will be hoping to get his hands on the Aviva Premiership trophy at around 4:45pm on Saturday afternoon, his namesake Martin is guaranteed to lift the silverware earlier in the day.
The new North Stand would replace the Sturtridge Pavilion. This is the oldest part of the current stadium, parts of which have been standing for nearly 50 years. The development would increase the total capacity of the stadium to 15,500, thereby ensuring that the club would be able to maintain its close links and commitments to the town of Northampton.
The new North Stand will both complete the stadium and ensure that Franklin's Gardens remains not just the envy of clubs throughout the country but somewhere which continues to receive accolades from fans and the media alike for its facilities and unique atmosphere.
Its state-of-the-art facilities will include:
• Seating for all spectators with guaranteed view of the action, replacing the current standing areas in front of boxes and ground floor patio
• 1,900 seats
• Improved disabled access and providing addition viewing areas for disabled supporters at ground and upper floor levels
• New ground floor Members' Bar (332m2 compared to current 210m2)
• Replace current first floor suite (capacity 200) with new suite holding up to 270 people
• Replace current 21 hospitality boxes with 10 new boxes
• State-of-the-art stadium control room, TV studio, amenities and turnstiles, replacing current out-dated facilities
• Dedicated reception, increasing on-site security
• The war memorial will remain within the stadium grounds, relocated to the north-east corner
• Increased media capacity to meet the requirements of ERC and other governing bodies
These amended plans certainly suit the club's purposes. They give 2,000 more people the opportunity to watch the Saints in Northampton, allow Franklin's Gardens to meet the criteria for a home Heineken Cup quarter final, and give the club the capability to move into the top five average attendances in European club rugby. The club will also have the option of moving games to stadium:mk, which by that time will have a capacity in the region of 35,000. This follows the pattern which is increasingly prevalent in European rugby.
The club intends to redevelop the north end of the stadium in the summer of 2013, ahead of the 2013/14 season. This gives us the time to ensure that all of the necessary plans are in place - both related to the stand itself and the rest of the infrastructure at Franklin's Gardens - as well as the funding.
The club's preferred option remains funding through enabling retail development. This gives the club the wherewithal to build the new stand without taking on a large amount of debt and allows the increased revenue that will be earned to be immediately invested into the club's playing and community departments, along with other aspects of the work done by the Saints. Neither the club nor any individual will profit financially from this deal.
The Saints is not asking for any money from Northampton Borough Council. The Saints is a self-sufficient club that wants the ability to keep growing, standing on its own two feet and bringing pride to the town of Northampton and its people.
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