Northampton Saints seek council consent for new £5.5m stand

Media captionWork could start on the new North Stand in summer 2015 during the World Cup

Plans for a new £5.5m stand have been submitted by Northampton Saints rugby club to the borough council.

The new North Stand at Franklin's Gardens would increase capacity from 13,591 people to 15,500, and include a bar, hospitality suites and 10 boxes.

Disabled facilities would also be improved and the control room, TV studio and first aid room replaced.

The council should consider the application in the new year and the club hopes to build the stand in 2015.

If the expansion is approved, Saints would have the ability to hold every regular season home game in Northampton.

In July 2012, there was a public consultation on the plans and discussions have taken place on the development over the past three years.

As a result, the original designs have been altered to include more big screens, toilets, disabled viewing spaces and car parking.

The stand's exterior has also been amended to match the rest of the stadium and to avoid overlooking neighbouring houses.

Saints chairman Tony Hewitt said the application was a "massive" step towards "completing Franklin's Gardens".

"There is also the demolition of the Sturtridge Pavilion... the first time we have had to remove a brick structure to build a new stand," he added.

It is hoped the work will take place during the rugby World Cup in 2015.

"All of this has to be planned to take place during the three months of a close season," said Mr Hewitt.

The council has agreed to give the club a £5m loan "in principle" for the stand, a council spokesman said.

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