Rugby side Northampton Saints are looking to expand their stadium, and have already submitted a planning application to the council for an extra 2,000 seats.

The Aviva Premier League club is looking to increase the capacity of its Franklin's Gardens stadium from 13,500 to 15,500 by replacing the current Sturridge Pavilion with a brand new stand. The Northampton Chronicle reports that the plans also include a 2,500-seater structure which will provide room for ten corporate boxes, a function area, television studio and bar. Club officials hope that the project could be ready for September 2013.

Developments moved a step closer recently, as the club received backing from the St James Resident's Association, which is based in the area around the Franklin's Gardens ground. The group approved the plans but wanted to ensure that the Saints' resolved any potential parking problems that could occur on busy matchdays.

Graham Croucher, secretary of the association, told the Northampton Chronicle: "We support the Saints expansion of the ground in principle, as long as the infrastructure is in place to support it. We need them to put a traffic management system in on match days and keep the Claret car park open to alleviate any traffic and parking pressure."

The Saints are set to hold a public consultation on the expansion plans so that residents and supporters alike can see the proposals the club hopes to push  to become a major force in European rugby. As part of the plans, Saints' officials revealed that Asda would be a partner in the project and, if approved, it would see a new supermarket being built on Edgar Mobbs Way land, which is currently used as a club car park.

Tony Hewitt, deputy chairman of the Saints, said: "We are working flat out with Asda to sort out all the side agreements that are needed and we are very close to that being done. We don’t want to stand still as a club, we want to keep moving forward."

Northampton had a reasonably successful 2011/12 campaign, finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership before being knocked out in the play-off semi-final by Harlequins, losing 25-23.

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