Premiership rugby union club Harlequins has unveiled plans for a new 25,000-capacity stadium on the site of its Twickenham Stoop home.
The project, led by the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium architects Populous, is expected to cost around £50m ($67/€56m). However, the exact final costs are unknown until facilities and design are agreed upon.
The rugby club’s current 14,800-seat stadium has been operating at 98 per cent capacity in recent years.
Harlequins hopes to construct a multi-sport facility, with the cinder running track around the field potentially being uncovered and resurfaced.
In addition, there have been talks of an artificial pitch to ensure that it can be used all year.
A six-month consultation period, starting in January, will decide the final facilities. Local residents and businesses are invited to offer ideas before the club submits a planning proposal to Richmond council.
The club will also look into building a hotel, as well as potentially developing facilities on site for Richmond upon Thames school, with which it is affiliated.
David Ellis, the club’s chief executive, said: “Harlequins has been proud to call Twickenham, Richmond and London our home for over a century, but it is important to remember that our purpose is not just about the rugby, but about the wider community.
“During the 54 years we have called The Stoop home, the club has positively contributed to the Borough in a number of areas and created arguably the best Premiership Rugby stadium in London. It is really important to us as a club that we take a lead in the local community, which is why we place such an emphasis on the Harlequins Foundation and the positive work it does in the Borough and London as a whole.
“As our role in the community has grown so has our membership and supporter base, with nearly 10,000 Members and a 98 per cent stadium capacity throughout the season. To allow us to continue our positive contribution to the borough and London, we have now reached the point where we have to co-create a new, state-of-the-art stadium, with accessible to all facilities.
“The emerging concept could place The Stoop firmly at the centre of the local community for another 100 years, creating a fantastic new destination to work, play and live.
“We are committed to being open and transparent on our ideas as we begin our journey, so we need to go and talk to lots of people. Starting in the New Year, we will be embarking on a period of consultation with our existing strong networks of schools, resident and business groups, community clubs and other interested parties to discuss our concept and listen to their views.”
While the stadium would be under-construction, Harlequins would likely play its matches at Twickenham Stadium, subject to approval from the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Image: Ed Watts