Cecil Duckworth as he unfurled the proposed Sixways development
Worcester Warriors' proposed £23m Sixways stadium revolution has moved a step closer after Wychavon District councillors gave it their unanimous approval.
The news has delighted club chairman Cecil Duckworth and will be greeted with an equal joy by supporters of the Guinness Premiership rugby club.
The project includes a new North Stand that will take capacity to 13,200, an Esporta health centre with swimming pools and racquet club, a new car park, and replacement training pitches.
There will also be a new entrance to the complex off Pershore Lane to ease match-day congestion.
The scheme must now be considered by Government West Midlands officials, but the club plans to start discussions soon with its architects and consulting partners - as well as council officers, Highways Agency and Environment Agency officials - on a detailed timetable to bring the project to fruition.
"We're delighted that we've received unanimous approval," said Mr Duckworth. "The comments by a number of councillors were that it was the most exciting project they've received in probably the past 10 years. They were extremely supportive, which is an endorsement of the hard work that everyone has put in, including our architect Ian McConaghy and our consultants Robert West.
"This now has to be sanctioned by the Secretary of State, but we'd hope that this would be a formality. We'll now start preparing a detailed plan of implementation for the entire scheme.
"This is an exciting future development taking the capacity up to 13,200 and will relieve the congestion problem for traffic entering and leaving the ground."
Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin's Gardens to take on Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).