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Northampton Saints submit plans for new stand

Northampton Saints submit plans for new stand
Rugby union side Northampton Saints are seeking council approval on a new stand at their Franklin's Gardens home.

The Aviva Premiership team want to construct a £5.5 million stand and have submitted plans for the project to Northampton Borough Council. The club believe that by redeveloping the North Stand will help to "complete Franklin's Gardens" and would take the capacity of the stadium from 13,591 to 15,500. It will include a new bar, hospitality suites and ten boxes allowing the club to compete with other teams in the division in terms of revenue.

Councillors are expected to consider the application in early January 2014 with club officials hoping to begin construction in 2015. Once completed it will mean that Saints will be able to host all their home matches in Northampton and not need to relocate to bigger stadiums nearby when it comes to the bigger or more high profile matches.

In January 2011, the club announced that would play a number of Heineken Cup matches at Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes. Saints have subsequently been playing games of this ilk at the football ground but should the expansion of Franklin's Gardens be completed soon then all fixtures can be played at the club's natural home.

Tony Hewitt, the club chairman, explained the building process: "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.”

Saints are aiming for the construction to be carried out during the 2015 World Cup which will be held in England. Northampton has not been selected as a host city. Of the 13 venues that have been chosen to host the event only two are specifically for rugby - Exeter's Sandy Park and Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium. International rugby grounds such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Twickenham in London have also been chose alongside a string of football stadia.

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Date: 05/11/2013 16:43:00

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