Saracens stadium plans given boost


Saracens are a step closer to getting the go-ahead for their plans to renovate Copthall Stadium after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government gave the all clear for Barnet Council to issue planning permission.

Saracens' plans to move to the ground, which would see them become the first professional club to play home matches on an artificial pitch, had already received approval from the Planning and Environment Committee of Barnet Council and the Mayor of London's office.

The club now expect Barnet Council to formally issue them with planning permission in the next few days after their plans were approved by Eric Pickles MP.

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray 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.

"We have engaged with local residents throughout the life of this project and we will continue to do so as we move forward. We want to provide a facility that the whole community can be proud of...and that's a promise."