Saracens, the reigning European Champions Cup and Premiership champions, have been given permission to spend more than £20m on a new West Stand to turn Allianz Park into a world class stadium .
However, despite replacing the current ageing stand in 2018 with a new complex including changing rooms and medical facilities, the overall capacity of the Barnet Copthall arena will not be significantly increased, only rising by 500 to a new regular maximum of 10,500. There is provision for the temporary stands at each end of the ground to be increased to allow a 15,000 capacity for one major match each season.
Nigel Wray, the club chairman and Johann Rupert ,the South African businessman, will be expected to fund the latest upgrade following the £20m they put together to build the East stand. Allianz Park is situated within the Green Belt which means the application will now be considered by the Greater London Authority.
Wray is determined to ensure the is a real legacy at Allianz Park and said:“ I do not believe you can be at the top of the sport in Europe in five years’ time unless you have a much better ground than we have at the moment. We have to improve everything, including training facilities. I have always said that once you stop improving you have had it.”
Barnet Council last night approved the West Stand planning application with the improvement aimed at delivering “enhanced community, education and sporting facilities at the stadium”. The stadium is also home to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers athletic club.
A Saracens statement said”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 our communities most disadvantaged and vulnerable people. “
as seen in Evening Standard