PLANS to increase the number of seats at Poole Town Football Club’s stadium have been given the go-ahead.

The Dorset club will now be building a new 250-seat stand at the north end of the pitch and moving the existing north stand to the south end of the pitch.

It will also be providing a new boardroom, toilets and tea hut facilities.

These latest improvements to the Dolphins’ Black Gold Stadium have been necessary to comply with the requirements of the National League.

In April, the club was told that they were not eligible to compete in the National South play-offs due to not having 500 seats under cover, a figure believed to be over and above Football Association ground-grading regulations.

Vice-chairman Chris Reeves told the Daily Echo at the time the club would be appealing to the FA over the decision.

The club had already stumped up more than £170,000 to fund improvements just to stay at step two level, which they achieved following an inspection of the stadium at the end of last March.

The improvements included the installation of new low-level terracing and upgraded floodlighting to ensure the Tatnam ground met National League ground-grading criteria.

The club submitted plans for a new seated stand at the end of August.

The proposals were given approval at a Borough of Poole planning meeting at the beginning of this month.

Case officer James Gilfillan said in a report to councillors that none of the new and relocated structures would “prejudice the use of the remaining playing fields by Oakdale Junior School”.

The school had strongly objected to the plans saying they represented a “gradual encroachment over leased land”.

Poole Town FC moved to its current base on the school’s playing field in 2005 after ground-sharing with Hamworthy United and Holt United following their departure from Wimborne Road.

Mr Gilfillan said: “Whilst there is no restriction imposed by the planning consents, the playing of football matches does not coincide with the school day or times at which students are travelling to and from the school - there is therefore limited prospect of these proposals conflicting with the safety of students or causing any safeguarding conflicts.

“The future of the club on this site is not going to be resolved by this application. What, if any, consents that should be secured for the use of school playing fields is for the landowner, Education Authority, school and applicant to resolve and, as indicated by Sport England, the playing fields are still in use for sporting activities.”