Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 21:55 UK

St Helens stadium plans approved

St Helens' Knowsley Road ground
St Helens have been based at Knowsley Road since 1890

Blueprints for a new 18,000 seat stadium for St Helens rugby league club on Merseyside have been backed by local councillors at a planning meeting.

The proposal is to move the club from its Knowsley Road ground to the former United Glassworks site, alongside a Tesco superstore.

It was opposed by a rival supermarket but was passed by St Helens council subject to terms and conditions.

A health and safety risk assessment will need to take place too.

Regional approval

The plans, which will now go forward to regional government for approval, could be the subject of a public inquiry and may yet be threatened by a condition placed on the approval requiring part of the historic site to be preserved.

However, if they are passed, the Saints would move from their Knowsley Road ground, which has been the club's home since 1890, during the 2010 season.

The Knowsley Road stadium would then be bulldozed to make way for a housing development.

The plans for the former United Glassworks site form part of a major regeneration scheme to transform the derelict 46-acre site.

This is wonderful news for the club, its supporters and for the town of St Helens
Eamonn McManus, St Helens chairman

David Rolinson, planning manager for the project, said: "We still need to resolve the future of the ancient monument, which at the moment the council require us to enhance but which is not viable for the scheme to support.

"We have put in four years of hard work in order to get this scheme absolutely right and are very concerned about the ancient monument issue.

"Today is, however, an important day as together these developments are set to change the face of St Helens and continue to deliver its urban renaissance."

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus said: "This is wonderful news for the club, its supporters and for the town of St Helens.

"We now look forward to a similar positive outcome from the government office for the North West."


SEE ALSO
St Helens to rename Knowsley Road
06 May 08 |  St Helens
Saints submit plans for stadium
28 Jun 07 |  St Helens

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