Saracens confirms it will be entering into detailed discussions with the London Borough of Barnet about the possibility of transforming Barnet Copthall Stadium into a vibrant, multi-purpose sports venue, with real benefits for the entire community.
The stadium, currently home to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers amongst other sports clubs, would become a premier athletics venue and potential training centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as being an outstanding community sports hub and a Premiership rugby ground.
The emerging proposals would comprehensively refurbish the existing main building to the west of the site and create a new permanent stand to the east which would be used by spectators of athletics meetings and rugby matches. Demountable stands would be in place during the winter season to facilitate up to 16 Saracens fixtures.
Saracens is urgently seeking a home with the potential to ensure the club is sustainable in the long term; Barnet Copthall would provide this opportunity and bring Premiership rugby back into north London, heartland of the club’s support since 1876.
Chairman Nigel Wray said: “There is a unique opportunity to create a fabulous stadium. Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers would thrive, Saracens would use the artificial turf pitch around 16 times per year, and the rest of the time – up to 350 days per year – the field could be used by schools, local clubs and the wider community.
“Barnet Copthall would also become a new hub for the award-winning Saracens Foundation, which has been working with more than 500,000 young people in London over the past decade, improving lives by running various courses that link education and sport.
“It goes without saying we will consult widely and extensively with the local community and stakeholders to establish a proper dialogue and ensure we create an asset that meets all the requirements of local residents and sports clubs.
“In the process, we will create a home for Saracens, an ambitious club playing entertaining rugby in a superb stadium, an institution which will make the people of Barnet and all North London can feel proud for many years to come.”
Geoff Morphitis, Treasurer of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers said: “This is a tremendous opportunity in these difficult financial times to refurbish a stand that is nearly 50 years old and to bring in new facilities.
“This would ensure the venue can continue to host top class athletics meetings and serve as a valuable sports facility for the local community. We look forward to working with Saracens to ensure the delivery of an outstanding sporting venue and to expand our work in the local community.”
Public exhibitions on the emerging proposals for Barnet Copthall Stadium are being held later this month so that the local community has an opportunity to view and comment on the plans and ask questions of the project team. The exhibitions are being held on:
Sunday 28 November at Copthall Stadium between 12pm and 4pm
Tuesday 30 November at Copthall School between 5pm and 9pm
Wednesday 1 December at Copthall School between 5pm and 9pm
The ground will be designed with permanent seating to accommodate approximately 3,000 spectators for athletics events.
The demountable stands would increase the capacity of the ground to 10,000 spectators for up to 16 rugby games per year to accord with the requirements of Premiership Rugby.