Aviva Premiership rugby club Saracens are looking to start improvements to their Allianz Park ground later this year after winning planning permission for the scheme from Barnet Council.
The main element of the application is the replacement of the ageing West Stand with a new, modern stand which would consolidate and enhance the provision of community, education and sporting facilities at the stadium. The work is scheduled to be completed by Autumn 2018.
Allianz Park, as a multi-use community stadium, has become an essential hub of community, education and sporting activity in Barnet and North London.
The new stand provides the opportunity to build on this success with improved facilities for all sport users as well as additional space for Middlesex University’s London Sports Institute.
The improvements will enhance facilities to support and grow Saracens’ charitable arm, the Saracens Sports Foundation, which will help to further develop its award winning community programming, which uses sport to improve the lives of some of the communities most disadvantaged and vulnerable people, the club said.
The positive panning decision and the overwhelmingly positive response to the public consultation process reflects the important role that Allianz Park already plays in the community, Saracens said.
Chief Executive of Saracens, Heath Harvey, said:
We are naturally delighted with the decision made by Barnet Council. Our planning application was incredibly thorough and considered all the feedback we had received in the months leading up to today.
We will continue to work as an active part of the local community, working in partnership as we continue to improve Allianz Park and maximise its positive impact on our community. We now look forward to the next stage of this exciting process.
The new stand would provide a much improved environment for stadium users and spectators with a maximum permanent capacity of 10,500 (currently 10,000).
The plans will also include a proposal for one of the 16 Saracens home matches to accommodate a one-off annual game (such as a European Rugby Champions Cup quarter final) at Allianz Park. This would enable the capacity of the stadium to be temporarily increased to 15,000 for a maximum of one match a year.
As Allianz Park is situated within the Green Belt, the application will now be referred to the Greater London Authority and hopefully approved by the Mayor in the near future, the club added.