|Saracens Cleared To Pursue Plans For New Stadium|
Thursday, 29 March 2012 10:00
Premiership rugby side, Saracens, have confirmed they are a step closer towards moving to a new stadium after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government cleared Barnet Council to issue planning permission for the club's plans to renovate Copthall Stadium.
The club's plans have already been approved by the Mayor of London's office and the Planning and Environment Committee of Barnet Council. The move would see Saracens become the first Premiership club to play on an artificial pitch.
Nigel Wray, chairman of Saracens, said: 'We are obviously delighted that the Secretary of State has confirmed that our planning application can be determined at local level, in line with the spirit of localism. We now hope that the formal decision will be issued by Barnet Council over the coming days.
'The comprehensive sporting and community benefits of our proposals have been recognised at every stage of the decision making process. We will create a vibrant sports hub for the local community, offering great facilities free of charge for local schools. We will also provide a hugely improved athletics venue for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and make a real home for Saracens.'
The news comes just days before Saracens take on Harlequins at Wembley in a match expected to top the world record attendance for a club match - currently the 82,208 who saw Munster and Leinster play at Croke Park in 2009. Playing games at Wembley has proved popular with fans, and Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said on Wednesday that even if the club secures its stadium plans it would continue to play occasional games at the home of English football.