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Sarries unveil revised plans

Saracens have revealed their revised proposal for the refurbishment of Barnet Copthall Stadium.

Sarries hope to make the move from Vicarage Road to their future home next year and initially submitted a planning application in March, but consultation with residents, supporters, statutory bodies and stakeholders has continued over the last six months, resulting in Thursday's new proposal.

The main points of the improved application, which has been submitted to Barnet council, centre on provisions for matchday transport as well as a modified design featuring trees and greenery and an integrated management plan.

The transport plans include coach services from Hertfordshire towns as well as a shuttle service linking Edgeware, Mill Hill Broadway and Mill Hill East stations to the ground.

It is hoped the new transport plans will reduce the number of people travelling to the ground by car to 36%.

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said in a club statement: "We have listened and we have learned, and we are now putting forward an even better version of what I believe is a really exciting plan to create a unique community sports hub in the heart of north London, offering fantastic lasting benefits to tens of thousands of people, and minimising disruption to residents.

"Our basic concept remains the same - to invest in the creation of a compact, well-equipped stadium to be used for community sport on 340 days of the year, club and elite athletics and a maximum 16 days of Premiership rugby. These revisions relate to design, transport and enhancing leisure facilities, a key function of the Green Belt.

"We have consulted with many groups and organisations, among others the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, local schools and community organisations, and Mill Hill Preservation Society and we have hosted more than 15 public meetings throughout the borough.

"The revisions to the plans cost money, and the Saracens shareholders' investment will rise beyond £16m, but we are determined to advocate proposals that enjoy widespread public support, that creates a home for the award-winning Saracens foundation and a genuine community asset, and that enables our club's return home to the heart of north London."

The stadium is set to incorporate demountable stands on three sides for Saracens' home games, as well as an artificial pitch, and would also continue to be home for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers athletics club.

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