A POPULAR football club has been given the go ahead for a £450,000 expansion plan to improve its facilities.

Basildon Council has agreed plans for Bowers and Pitsea Football Club to build new changing rooms, an office, cafe, boardroom, conference and classroom.

The plan will also allow the club to bolster its seating capacity at its Crown Avenue stadium from 300 to 350 raising the total capacity to more than 2,700.

The club produced a report into concerns from residents about noise and parking, which had delayed the decision.

The council’s planning committee praised the club for addressing concerns from the residents about noise.

At the meeting Craig Rimmer, Tory councillor and member of Basildon Council’s planning committee said: “I think this is a better plan and is more considerate.

“The club has tried to address the parking issues and I am impressed with the report.

“I am glad that the club and our council officers were able to work together to address the concerns and needs of the residents.”

Following the meeting, Derrick Fellowes, vice chairman of the planning committee, spoke in favour of the club and its plans.

He said: “I am supportive of growing football clubs and have worked with one in the past.

“I have great respect for the club in terms of longevity.

“We deferred the plans because we needed more reassurance about the concerns raise.

“The club responded the correct way by producing an acceptable study about the noise concerns.

“The club is prepared to work with neighbours and try and work with other visiting clubs to ensure there is no negative impact from parking on neighbours.

“They are also willing to install a new fence to deal with any residents’ concerns about the impact of parking.”

Basildon Council deferred the plans in August, but Barry Hubbard, club chairman of the club, claimed further delays could cost the club £125,000 and ultimately its future.

He previously said if the club didn’t start work soon it could be thrown out of the Isthmian premier league. Football clubs are required to fulfil certain requirements in terms of facilities depending on the league they are in. The club has 30 youth teams but toilets from the 1970s and need an upgrade.

A club spokesman said: "We fully appreciated the concerns raised by residents and we will continue to strive to work with the local community to ensure minimal disruption throughout the development.

"Furthermore, we look forward to submitting plans to the council in due course for the creation of further parking facilities at the ground to ease any parking fears that local residents may have.

"It is our ultimate goal to continue to build this club into a football club that the area of Bowers Gifford and Pitsea can be proud of.

“Naturally we are delighted that the Council have approved the plans and we look forward to continuing our development of Bowers and Pitsea Football Club.”