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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Saints submit plans for stadium
St Helens' Knowsley Road ground
St Helens have been based at Knowsley Road for 116 years
Super League champions St Helens moved a step closer to a new home on Thursday after submitting a planning application for an 18,000-capacity stadium.

The plan is for a stadium and store to be built on the derelict site of an old glass factory near the town centre.

The club aim to move out of Knowsley Road, which has been their home for 116 years, during the 2010 season.

"A new stadium will give fans a far more enjoyable match-day experience," said chairman Eamonn McManus.

"It will allow the club to expand its community and youth-development activity. It will also play a key role in helping us to continue to attract world-class rugby league players to St Helens."

This is a landmark project which signals to everyone that St Helens is a 21st-century town

St Helens MP Shaun Woodward

Saints have been the dominant club on the field since the advent of Super League in 1996, but have been left behind off it.

Super League rivals Wigan, Warrington, Hull and Huddersfield have all moved into new stadia in recent years while Salford and Wakefield have similar plans in the pipeline.

The Rugby Football League plan to issue Super League licences from 2009 based on a set of criteria including facilities.

After consultation with fans, part of the new ground will be set aside for standing, while Knowsley Road will be turned into housing.

St Helens Council leader Brian Spencer said: "The proposed development will bring a range of benefits, not just to our own borough but to the region in general, bringing massive investment and jobs.

"It also means that we are further down the road of seeing a new stadium fit for a club of this world-class stature."

St Helens South MP Shaun Woodward added: "This is a landmark project which signals to everyone that St Helens is a 21st-century town.

"There is no better sign of the success of regeneration than by giving one of the world's greatest rugby league teams a world-class facility."

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