A look at St. Helens RFC’s Langtree Park Stadium

The Langtree Park Stadium was completed in November 2011, and the first match there took place the following January, so it celebrated its fifth anniversary this year.

Stadium history

The Langtree Park Stadium is situated in the Peasley Cross area of St. Helens in Merseyside. The development plans, as well as the stadium, included the building of a Tesco Extra store next to the stadium, and the construction of residential and retail properties in the area. The club needed planning permission for all properties to make the stadium construction financially viable. Planning permission for the stadium and the other buildings was granted in May 2008.

John Downes, managing director of Langtree Development (the main contractors for the project), when hearing about the successful planning application said:

“This is fantastic news, and is a vital step forward in our plans to transform the former United Glass site. Langtree is proud to be playing such an integral role in the development of a new stadium and in the regeneration of St Helens town. The planning application is the product of a lot of hard work over the last few years by everyone involved and the result will be a fantastic new development with the new Saints stadium as its centrepiece.”

The derelict United Glass factory on the stadium site was pulled down and the area cleared by 2009. In July 2010, Langtree Development in partnership with Barr Construction began work on the stadium. This was completed in November 2011 at a cost of around £30m.

The Langtree Group was given the naming rights to the stadium and named it Langtree Park.

Eamon McManus, the Chairman of St. Helens in 2012, and an ardent supporter of the project, said:

“The stadium is high quality in every regard and quite unique in its design. It’s got the feel of a substantial stadium but will also maintain an intimate but passionate rugby league atmosphere.

“I financially invested in the club 12 years ago on the back of architectural plans for a new stadium, which I thought would take two or three years to ensue.

“Now it’s all done and dusted, it’s something you can look back and feel genuinely proud of. I feel 10 feet tall when I come into this place.

“If there is a better rugby league stadium, can someone please point it out to me.”

The first match was played on January 20, 2012 between local rivals St. Helens and Widnes. The Saints won 42-24.

In 2016, under a sponsorship deal with an e-cigarette company, the stadium was renamed the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Layout and construction

The stadium has four stands – two seated and two standing. The pitch is natural grass, but there is some AstroTurf on the touchline.

The outside of the stadium features aluminium curtain walling supplied by Senior Architectural Systems, which has a resistance to wear from weather. The stadium has SPW double glazed windows and high-security commercial doors.

The North Stand has a capacity for 4,788 seated fans, and the South Stand is also a seated area with a capacity of 5,233, as well as being the main area for the club offices, media centre and function rooms. The stand has a bright red cladding on the roof to reflect the club colours, and its seating is also red.

The East Stand is a standing area holding 3.899 people. The West Stand has a capacity for 3,796, mainly standing, but does have 111 seats, bringing the total capacity of the stadium to around 18,000.

The stadium has a number of function rooms used on match days, and hired out for commercial use when no rugby is taking place.

The 1873 Lounge, named after the year of the founding of St. Helens Rugby Club, is a large venue that can hold 400 delegates. On match days, it is host to St. Helens sponsors and hospitality guests.

The Stapleton Derby Premier Lounge is a glass-fronted lounge that overlooks the pitch. On match days, members of the Premier Business Club watch the match while enjoying refreshments. The lounge has its own bar and can accommodate 210 people.

The Hall of Fame is in the second level of the South Stadium. Like the Premier Lounge, it has views over the pitch. On match days, it is occupied by both home and away team players, their families and guests. The Hall of Fame holds 210 people, and is so called because it houses 40 portraits of St. Helens RFC. legends who have been inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.

The Eric Ashton Board Room in the centre of the South Stand is named after the former player, coach, director and chairman of the club. It is an intimate venue for up to 60 guests On match days, the room hosts St. Helens directors and their VIP guests.

On the second floor of the South Stand are 12 executive boxes with fine views of the pitch. Each box holds up to 12 people. A number of club sponsors and private box holders occupy them on match days.

The Red V cafe bar (named after one of the club’s nicknames) is located at the ground floor of the South Stand, with access from outside the stadium. This is the fans’ bar on match days.

The stadium has high-specification security features, including a powerful fire alarm and voice alarm system

Altro Flooring installed the floor coverings in the stadium, including the safety flooring in the players dressing rooms, which is non-slip and built to withstand rough treatment from player’s boots. The cafe area floor is covered with Altro Timbersafe, which has a wood effect and is easily cleaned after a busy match day,

Similar flooring can be found in the function room bar areas and features coloured quartz crystals that match the design of the rooms.

The Langtree Park Stadium is claimed to be the best designed rugby stadium in the UK, and is certainly an impressive example of British architectural design.

Posted by Mark
October 6, 2017
Features

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