The Conservative group of Northampton Borough Council have backed Northampton Saints for their proposed deal with ASDA to secure financing for a new North Stand at Franklin's Gardens.

Saints’ Chairman Keith Barwell revealed that Councillor David Palethorpe, who leads the Conservative group on Northampton Borough Council, is supporting the idea of a new supermarket at Franklin's Gardens.

Cllr Palethorpe said: “Over recent months I have made various statements in the press explaining that it is both practicable and desirable for there to be limited out of town retail development around Northampton, and that the Borough Council's stubborn adherence to their "town centre first" policy is strangling the economic development of this town.

“I recognise of course that the development of the town centre is of great significance to the future prosperity of Northampton, and that we must focus on supporting existing businesses as well as attracting new ones, but I firmly believe that a parallel approach of town centre and out of town development would send the right message to potential investors and ultimately be of benefit to everyone.”The deal between the Saints and ASDA, was announced in May 2009, and would allow the club to continue its financial independence.

The Saints' set up is quite unique to the majority of Guinness Premiership clubs with over 2,000 individual shareholders, rather than one single benefactor.

The new £7 million North Stand will have over 3,000 new seats, 10 corporate boxes, a large public bar, function room and various food and beverage outlets. There will be an improved, state-of-the-art stadium control room, as well as significantly improved disabled facilities, toilets and first aid.

It will increase capacity from 13,500 to 17,000 will also secure potential future revenues meeting as strict European Rugby Cup guidelines state that Heineken Cup knock-out matches must take place in a stadium that holds a minimum of 15,000.

Posted on 09/01/2010