London

Saracens plan for Copthall stadium revamp approved

Artist's impressions of the refurbished Barnet Copthall stadium
Image caption The approved plans resolve transport and parking issues

A plan by Saracens rugby club to revamp Copthall stadium in north London has been approved by Barnet Council.

It was revised following concerns from the council over a number of issues including parking and transport.

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said he was delighted that after 18 months of engaging with residents a "genuine community stadium" could be created.

The scheme will be referred to the mayor of London and the secretary of state for final approval.

A spokesman for Barnet Council said that after consultation with residents, the club had reduced the visual impact of the east stand using wood, trees and greenery.

'Real home'

The scheme also features an all-weather pitch suitable for local schools to use.

The stadium will also be used for athletics.

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Media captionGriffiths hopes ground built by autumn

Mr Wray said: "The new stadium will provide both a real home for Saracens and a hugely improved venue for athletics in the South East."

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

Saracens, who currently play at Watford FC's Vicarage Road, will use the stadium for a maximum of 16 days of Premiership rugby each season from September until May.

The mayor of London will need to approve the plan as it is classed as a "strategic development".

The plan will also be referred to the secretary of state as it relates to an area of greenbelt land, Barnet Council said.

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