Saracens receive green light from Secretary of State to leave Watford and move to Copthall

Nigel Wray's bid to move to Copthall has moved a step closer: Peter Beal

Nigel Wray's bid to move to Copthall has moved a step closer: Peter Beal

First published in Sport Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

Saracens have been given the go-ahead to move to Copthall after receiving the approval of the Secretary of State.

The Premiership champions have cleared the final hurdle before planning permission could be issued after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government signed off the proposal.

Sarries had already received the backing of the Planning and Environment Committee of Barnet Council and the Mayor of London.

Sarries chairman Nigel Wray said: "We are obviously delighted that the Secretary of State has confirmed that our planning application can be determined at local level, in line with the spirit of localism. We now hope that the formal decision will be issued by Barnet Council over the coming days.

“The comprehensive sporting and community benefits of our proposals have been recognised at every stage of the decision making process. We will create a vibrant sports hub for the local community, offering great facilities free of charge for local schools. We will also provide a hugely improved athletics venue for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and make a real home for Saracens.

“We have engaged with local residents throughout the life of this project and we will continue to do so as we move forward. We want to provide a facility that the whole community can be proud of...and that's a promise."

Comments (16)

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3:35pm Wed 28 Mar 12

Prestwick says...

Yipee! The Copthall Revival most certainly HAS been allowed! :D
Yipee! The Copthall Revival most certainly HAS been allowed! :D Prestwick
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5:31pm Wed 28 Mar 12

Alan E says...

Brilliant news. I genuinely hope that the local residents who have had reservations about this development will come to appreciate what Saracens can bring to the community. I hope for our part we can be good neighbours when we visit on match days.
Brilliant news. I genuinely hope that the local residents who have had reservations about this development will come to appreciate what Saracens can bring to the community. I hope for our part we can be good neighbours when we visit on match days. Alan E
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Wed 28 Mar 12

martymarty says...

Will Sarries start the season at the new stadium or will they need temorary accomodation for a while?
Will Sarries start the season at the new stadium or will they need temorary accomodation for a while? martymarty
  • Score: 0

7:30pm Wed 28 Mar 12

Mr_Growser says...

If you are a millionaire. politicians listen. If you live in a semi in Mill Hill or Hendon, they don't. If politicians mean what they say, like John Hart, this would not have been allowed. Yes, that John Hart, who just before the last election stood at Copthall for a press photo claiming he would defend the green belt, then spoke at the Planning meeting on behalf of Saracens. How hypocritical can they get? (Answer: very, if there is a political advantage in it)
If you are a millionaire. politicians listen. If you live in a semi in Mill Hill or Hendon, they don't. If politicians mean what they say, like John Hart, this would not have been allowed. Yes, that John Hart, who just before the last election stood at Copthall for a press photo claiming he would defend the green belt, then spoke at the Planning meeting on behalf of Saracens. How hypocritical can they get? (Answer: very, if there is a political advantage in it) Mr_Growser
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Wed 28 Mar 12

buckler says...

Good , clear off Egg chasers! Sooner the better.
Good , clear off Egg chasers! Sooner the better. buckler
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Wed 28 Mar 12

Prestwick says...

I think the politicians did listen. Barnet listened to the thousands of schoolkids who said they wanted better sports facilities in the borough and believed in Saracen's new plan. The people of Barnet who wanted a revitalised and revived Copthall said they agreed with Saracens and wanted the plan as well. Barnet Council listened.

Boris listened to the many thousands across London who wanted a real sporting legacy for Communities across London to use. He listened to the many who reminded him that simply rebuilding an existing stadium doesn't equal the destruction of Green Land. Boris listened.

The bottom line is that this is going ahead and that is fantastic news for the good people of Barnet. I'm certainly looking forward to being good neighbors with the locals around Barnet ;)
I think the politicians did listen. Barnet listened to the thousands of schoolkids who said they wanted better sports facilities in the borough and believed in Saracen's new plan. The people of Barnet who wanted a revitalised and revived Copthall said they agreed with Saracens and wanted the plan as well. Barnet Council listened. Boris listened to the many thousands across London who wanted a real sporting legacy for Communities across London to use. He listened to the many who reminded him that simply rebuilding an existing stadium doesn't equal the destruction of Green Land. Boris listened. The bottom line is that this is going ahead and that is fantastic news for the good people of Barnet. I'm certainly looking forward to being good neighbors with the locals around Barnet ;) Prestwick
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Wed 28 Mar 12

tonyevans22 says...

About time,we do not need Rugby at watford,it's a football pitch and the sarries have done near on nothing but pay peanut rent to wreck our pitch.It is a mess.Bye Bye Egg chasers thank god!!!
About time,we do not need Rugby at watford,it's a football pitch and the sarries have done near on nothing but pay peanut rent to wreck our pitch.It is a mess.Bye Bye Egg chasers thank god!!! tonyevans22
  • Score: 0

7:56am Thu 29 Mar 12

redrenault says...

Well they are in and now the fun starts. I assure you the local residents will be keeping a very close eye on the s106 and will not shirk from using legal recourse if required. If anyone tries to use the old "blue badge" excuse in local single yellow residential roads they will be politely told to f*** off, if that fails, well .. it wont ! If access becomes too troublesome for local residents for those 16 games a year .. or those events outside then we will have to revisit things and make sure people can get to their homes. Guys .. walk or come in via the A41 entrance. So dearest egg chasers lets see how long before the promises are broken and Mr Leslau & Mr Wray start focussing on those property deals again !! Hmm Brent Cross needs some work doing doesn't it guys !!
Well they are in and now the fun starts. I assure you the local residents will be keeping a very close eye on the s106 and will not shirk from using legal recourse if required. If anyone tries to use the old "blue badge" excuse in local single yellow residential roads they will be politely told to f*** off, if that fails, well .. it wont ! If access becomes too troublesome for local residents for those 16 games a year .. or those events outside then we will have to revisit things and make sure people can get to their homes. Guys .. walk or come in via the A41 entrance. So dearest egg chasers lets see how long before the promises are broken and Mr Leslau & Mr Wray start focussing on those property deals again !! Hmm Brent Cross needs some work doing doesn't it guys !! redrenault
  • Score: 0

8:34am Thu 29 Mar 12

LE PARK says...

Good bugger off
Good bugger off LE PARK
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9:21am Thu 29 Mar 12

Not swimming says...

Limited parking on or near site, the stadium need a huge amount of developement. A torturous journey on the Northern line, not sure if this is the right move for Sarries or fans.
Limited parking on or near site, the stadium need a huge amount of developement. A torturous journey on the Northern line, not sure if this is the right move for Sarries or fans. Not swimming
  • Score: 0

9:22am Thu 29 Mar 12

RogerF says...

I think it is a shame Saracens and Watford couldn't come to an agreement. As for the vicarage road pitch - it is a football and rugby pitch by design that hasn't been re laid for 13 years! no wonder it is terrible! What did the football club do with Saracens money?!
I think it is a shame Saracens and Watford couldn't come to an agreement. As for the vicarage road pitch - it is a football and rugby pitch by design that hasn't been re laid for 13 years! no wonder it is terrible! What did the football club do with Saracens money?! RogerF
  • Score: 0

10:03am Thu 29 Mar 12

Prestwick says...

I have no idea what Watford or Saracens did with the money over the past 13 years but there are several points here.

Firstly Roger is right, the state of the pitch at VR is more to the lack of investment than "egg chasers" or the "nancy boys" running on it. Secondly many Saracens fans are also Watford fans I believe so are probably doubly embarrassed by the silly rubbish coming out of a small minority of WFC "fans".

Thirdly there will be shuttle buses not just from Mill Hill East but from from other national rail and tube stations across the area. And in any case building a brand new stadium from scratch would have needed a huge amount of development also.
I have no idea what Watford or Saracens did with the money over the past 13 years but there are several points here. Firstly Roger is right, the state of the pitch at VR is more to the lack of investment than "egg chasers" or the "nancy boys" running on it. Secondly many Saracens fans are also Watford fans I believe so are probably doubly embarrassed by the silly rubbish coming out of a small minority of WFC "fans". Thirdly there will be shuttle buses not just from Mill Hill East but from from other national rail and tube stations across the area. And in any case building a brand new stadium from scratch would have needed a huge amount of development also. Prestwick
  • Score: 0

10:25am Thu 29 Mar 12

DannyMan says...

Happy times for both Saracens fans and those poisonous WFC supporters who hate Sarries through sheer prejudice. You don't want us to stay, we're happy to be going, result! The only people who will not be happy, I guess, are the board and shareholders of WFC (whoever they are this week). Because whatever way you look at it, half-a-million quid a year is not peanuts to an outfit as impecunious as WFC, it's a hole that'll take some filling. Not that I care.
Happy times for both Saracens fans and those poisonous WFC supporters who hate Sarries through sheer prejudice. You don't want us to stay, we're happy to be going, result! The only people who will not be happy, I guess, are the board and shareholders of WFC (whoever they are this week). Because whatever way you look at it, half-a-million quid a year is not peanuts to an outfit as impecunious as WFC, it's a hole that'll take some filling. Not that I care. DannyMan
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Thu 29 Mar 12

LE PARK says...

Don't think their are too many watford fc and egg chaser fans combined not that i know any way.And didn't you used to plkay at one of our most hated opponents?.Still glad your going and stick the 500k where the sun don't shine youv'e had it cheap for years here so good riddance
Don't think their are too many watford fc and egg chaser fans combined not that i know any way.And didn't you used to plkay at one of our most hated opponents?.Still glad your going and stick the 500k where the sun don't shine youv'e had it cheap for years here so good riddance LE PARK
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Thu 29 Mar 12

Prestwick says...

There certainly are and in any case they can spell better than you can.

99% of WFC fans have a mental age of 5 and knew that relations between the owners of Sarries and Watford were a comedy of errors. Hardly fit to blame the teams themselves.

And in any case "most hated opponents"? And who would they be? If you bothered to do your research you'd find Saracens have been tennants on and off at practically every sports ground in North London!

Do grow up and show a bit of magnaminity, thats a good chap.
There certainly are and in any case they can spell better than you can. 99% of WFC fans have a mental age of 5 and knew that relations between the owners of Sarries and Watford were a comedy of errors. Hardly fit to blame the teams themselves. And in any case "most hated opponents"? And who would they be? If you bothered to do your research you'd find Saracens have been tennants on and off at practically every sports ground in North London! Do grow up and show a bit of magnaminity, thats a good chap. Prestwick
  • Score: 0

8:06am Fri 30 Mar 12

DannyMan says...

Hahaha, so witty Le Park, typical diveball supporter. I take it you've offered your benefit payments to the board to help make up the £0.5M hole in the finances? After all, it is only peanuts, right? BTW, how's the new East Stand coming along?
Hahaha, so witty Le Park, typical diveball supporter. I take it you've offered your benefit payments to the board to help make up the £0.5M hole in the finances? After all, it is only peanuts, right? BTW, how's the new East Stand coming along? DannyMan
  • Score: 0

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