Franklin's Gardens set to expand
September 20, 2011
Franklin's Gardens is set to become a 'wraparound' arena as work starts on the North Stand in 2013 © Getty Images
Northampton Saints have confirmed work will start on the development of the new North Stand in the summer of 2013.
The completion of the structure will finally make Franklin's Gardens a 'wraparound arena' and will complete the redevelopment of the home of the Aviva Premiership team, which was started a decade ago.
Saints chairman Leon Barwell said: "We are very pleased to be in the position to confirm not just what the new North Stand will look like, but also when we intend for the development to take place.
"This gives us plenty of time to put together a planning application that takes into account every possible aspect and ensures that we will not be doing a rush job for the sake of it.
"The expansion of Franklin's Gardens is crucial in the long-term development of the club and we want to make sure we do it right."
However, Barwell revealed Northampton may play matches at Milton Keynes' stadium:mk, on occasions when the near-15,500 capacity of Franklin's Gardens is not deemed enough.
He added: "We also have the option of using stadium:mk, which will be increasing in capacity up to 32,000 in the next 12 months and would give many more supporters the opportunity to watch the Saints than we could ever fit into Franklin's Gardens.
"This mirrors what is now common practice across Europe and means we would fit perfectly into the template for professional rugby clubs as laid out recently by business analysts Deloitte - sustainability based on investment in our home ground together with the added profile and income resulting from matches held at a bigger stadium."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies