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Saracens submit plans to revamp Copthall Stadium

Artists impressions of the refurbished Copthall stadium
Image caption The stadium would be used for athletics, rugby and community sport

Saracens rugby club has submitted plans to Barnet Council to transform an athletics stadium into a multi-purpose community sports venue.

The refurbished Copthall stadium will be used for athletics, rugby and community sport.

The club hopes that the Mill Hill venue may also be a training venue for London 2012.

A public consultation has been running since November and will continue while the application is being processed.

Saracens, who currently play at Watford FC's Vicarage Road, will use the stadium for rugby from September until May.

The stadium will have a capacity of 10,000 and will have removable stands on three sides.

'Community asset'

Saracens are planning to stage no more than 16 days of Premiership rugby at Copthall and a match day traffic and parking plan has been produced.

Club chairman Nigel Wray said the proposals would create "a real community asset" and allow its charitable arm to continue its work to offer young people alternatives to crime.

He said: "The award-winning Saracens Foundation will be based at the stadium, working in the Barnet community, creating 'Teams not Gangs,' improving the quality of life and creating opportunities for young people."

In October, Barnet Football Club criticised the council for holding talks with Saracens rugby club over a possible relocation to Copthall Stadium in north London.

The League Two side has been trying to leave its Underhill home for a decade, with the Copthall the preferred new base.

The football club's plan for a 10,000-seat stadium in 2001 was approved by the council, but rejected by then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

The council confirmed that it had received Saracens Rugby Club's application but declined to comment further.

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