Saints get green light for new high performance centre

Saints have confirmed that West Northamptonshire Council Planning Authority have approved the club’s application for the construction of a new indoor training facility.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 9:00 am
Saints are building a new high performance centre
Saints are building a new high performance centre

The ‘Northampton Saints High Performance Centre’ will be based to the south of cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, on a section of one of the club’s existing outdoor pitches, and will provide year-round training facilities for the playing squad.

The development was designed by pHp Architects, and Saints have appointed Warwick Burt Construction as lead contractor – with both businesses locally-based and staffed by Saints supporters.

Construction will begin in late June to finish midway through the 2022/23 season.

“I am thrilled that we have now formally authorised the work to begin on our new high performance centre at Franklin’s Gardens,” said Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“This will be a major build; the first of this scale at the club for many years.

"While we are already very proud of our home, we must continue to invest in our facilities to underpin our ambition to be successful at the very top of our sport and attract some of the best players in the world.

“The high performance centre will create a step change in the quality of the facilities available to our performance staff and the playing group – in short, all year round we will be able to train onsite, on high-quality surfaces, whatever the weather.

“The development will also enable us to engage with the community in new ways, and help us attract new events to Franklin’s Gardens and the town of Northampton.

“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in getting the project to this stage, particularly the council – who have been extremely positive throughout the process – and the teams at GSS, pHp Architects and Warwick Burt.

"This is an extremely exciting development for everyone at the club.”

Sitting on the western side of Saints’ current main training pitch, the high performance centre will house a half-sized artificial playing surface.

Upgrade work began on Saints’ other training pitch in March to create a second top-quality outdoor surface to replicate the Franklin’s Gardens stadium pitch, and complement the new facility.

The club have committed to sustainable design principles – with the building including a passive ventilation system rather than heating, upgraded glazing and thermal insulation, energy efficient lighting, and high-quality cladding which is both durable and recyclable.

“It is fantastic to be involved in the next stage of the development of the Franklin’s Gardens site,” said Rob MacNaughton, partner at pHp Architects (and Saint #1631).

“Our relationship with Saints started in the 1960s, and for me personally slightly later during my playing days in the 1990s, followed by the design of the stadium.

“This next phase for Saints will provide the playing squad with a fantastic training facility, enabling them to stay at the very top of their game all year round.

"It is a privilege for us to be involved in this project.”

Tony Warwick, managing director at Warwick Burt, added: “We’re absolutely delighted to be entrusted by Northampton Saints with the construction of their new high performance centre, and we can’t wait to get on site!”