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Newcastle United plans St James's Park upgrade

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Newcastle United Football Club has unveiled plans to rebuild its St James's Park stadium, increasing its capacity by over 14,000 seats and incorporating what it claims will be the longest roof cantilevers in Europe. Estimated cost is £42 million. The plans supersede proposals to build a new stadium in parkland at nearby Castle Leazes, which had become increasingly uncertain after sustained opposition.

The new plans, by Gateshead-based architect Taylor, Tulip & Hunter and engineer Hutter, Jennings & Titchmarsh, involve adding a further tier of seating to the stadium's northern (Sir John Hall) and western (Milburn) stands, and reconstructing the linking north-west corner, increasing the ground capacity from 36,800 to over 51,000.

The plans aim to create a light and open structure, with glazed gable elevations with tubular lattice girders, and translucent barrel vaults for the new roofs. The roofs themselves would be supported by 65m cantilevers, overtaking the 58m cantilevers at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium to be the longest in Britain and among the longest in the world.

The architect and the club have also been working closely with the University of Northumbria on the possibility of incorporating photovoltaic panels in the new roof to generate power for the ground's floodlight system.

If planning permission is granted, work is expected to begin in May 1998 for completion before the start of the 2000/2001 season.

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