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Galliford on the front row for £60m Tigers’ stadium

Galliford Try is being tipped as the frontrunner to secure the first part of a £60 million contract to redevelop the ground of rugby union’s best supported club side, Leicester Tigers.

The club, which is lying second in union’s top division, the Premiership, is hoping to start work on the North Stand in early summer.

Designs - drawn up by AFL architects - also include a three-star hotel, a 450-space multi-storey car park and an educational building for people with multiple learning disabilities on behalf of the adjacent Leicester College.

The club’s proposal for the transformation of its Welford Road ground will increase capacity from 17,500 to 30,000, making it the largest dedicated club rugby union stadium in the UK.

Last week, the redevelopment got the green light from the city council. Club chairman Peter Tom, a former chief executive of Aggregate Industries, said: “We hope to start that work at the end of this season. We have worked closely with the planning authorities and we are delighted to receive their approval.”

Rival pitches from 2012 Olympic stadium builder Sir Robert McAlpine and £60 million turnover County Durham contractor Hall Construction, which built Darlington Football Club’s new ground as well as -fellow League Two side Shrewsbury Town’s new venue, are understood to have been kicked into touch.

Galliford Try declined to comment that it was favourite for the job but rivals admit the company is the team to beat.

One said: “Galliford are in that neck of the woods and I think their local connections have gone down well. We know the club is talking to one firm and their name is the one in the frame.”

Construction on the stadium will be phased. The first stage is expected to start in June and finish by September 2009.

As well as the 10,000 seat North Stand, work will involve building function spaces, a club shop, ticket office and club bar. This part of the deal carries a £12 million price tag.

The remaining phases will ultimately form a horseshoe-shaped stand. These will include a standing lower terrace, an all-seater upper terrace and executive boxes.

Supporting concourses, lounges, press facilities and club changing rooms will also be constructed. Work on the entire project is expected to take 10 years to complete.