EFFORTS by a Canford Magna-based football club to secure promotion have been given a boost after plans for new floodlights and spectator stands were approved.

BCP Council has granted planning permission for the work at the Hamworthy Club – the home of Hamworthy Recreation FC.

The club said the improvements would enable it to be promoted to the Wessex League and “provide additional facilities for local sport”.

Playing its home games at the Hamworthy Club, Hamworthy Recreation either won or finished as runner-up in the Dorset Premier League several times in recent years.

But the lack of suitable facilities has denied it the chance of promotion into the Wessex League – the tenth tier of the football pyramid.

In October it applied to BCP Council for permission to install floodlights around its pitch and to erect new spectator stands to meet the necessary criteria.

“Although our football ground has excellent facilities, several requirements are lacking to enable us to progress, which includes floodlighting and one or more stands,” it said. “This application would allow Hamworthy Recreation FC to play in a higher league and provide additional facilities for local sport.”

Its plans include the installation of five 15-metre floodlights on the edge of the pitch, two linked 50-seater structures, two covered stands and a walkway.

It said this work would not require a “significant” increase in the amount of space the ground takes up.

In a bid to reduce the impact of the extra lighting, shields would be installed on the floodlights and there would be a restriction on the time they can be turned on.

The planning application has now been approved by the council, paving the way for the upgrades to be made.

Council planning officer Eleanor Godesar said the work would “improve” the use of the pitch and that there were no significant negatives to the project.

“The proposed covered areas and floodlights would not be inappropriate development in the green belt,” her report approving the application says. “The covered areas would be directly adjacent to the pitch and would have minimal physical form with open sides and lightweight materials in colours to blend in with surrounding vegetation.”

It adds: “The benefits of providing enhanced facilities for the existing football pitch would outweigh the mitigated impacts on the surrounding area.”