Saracens Copthall Multifunctional Community Stadium
The recent grant of planning permission for Saracens' proposed Stadium at Copthall involved redeveloping and rejuvenating an existing stadium in the metropolitan green belt.
The stadium has an illustrious history but is in need of regeneration and funding is unlikely to come from public sources. Resolving the key issues involved a principled and meticulous approach to the issues and their resolution, including 'mediating' between the different parties in order to ensure that their respective concerns and objections were resolved on a basis which enabled the application to be approved without Mayoral Direction or call-in by the Secretary of State.
Main challenges included overcoming green belt policy issues and the chronic lack of sustainable transport accessibility and ensuring that there was a robust framework to control the development and secure delivery of the major health and social benefits of the proposal in accordance with the Saracens' vision, which in summary was encapsulated in the following statement:
'The Saracens vision is to create a sustainable, multifunctional community stadium and to ensure that it is used to the optimum in the interests of the health and well-being of people in the local communities of Barnet and other areas of London and achieving sporting excellence at all levels and in all sectors for which it will provide.'
The development involves Saracens providing the funding and management of the stadium and its use by the community use for decades into the future, as well as the £18m initial capital investment in its improvement, including re-surfacing of a large and unsightly existing car park area (see photograph) to a green and pleasant space with picnic and barbecue facilities for public use on non-match days.
Paul has successfully supported the planning department on a number of high profile and complex cases demonstrating an ability to resolve issues quickly and collaboratively. As a first rate planning lawyer he is an asset to any project team. Always a safe pair of hands but Paul also brings with him a clear focus and ability to drive solutions forward. As a skilled negotiator he is relentless in his pursuit to deliver and his advice is consistently reliable, timely and robust. Without a doubt one of the most effective operators in his field.
Martin Cowie, Assistant Director of Planning and Development Management at the London Borough of Barnet.
Paul Winter is highly knowledgeable, astonishingly thorough, utterly professional and wholeheartedly committed to worthwhile projects such as the new Saracens stadium at Copthall, now known as Allianz Park. Beyond any doubt at all, Paul played a key and integral role in developing, crystallising and ultimately enabling the Saracens plan to create a unique and genuine community sports hub in the heart of north London. As a professional rugby club, we remain deeply grateful... in years and decades to come, hundreds of thousands of people in Barnet will have good cause to be grateful as well.
Edward Griffiths (Chief Executive of Saracens RUC)