UTTOXETER Town Football Club has been granted permission to make vital upgrades to their facilities that will allow them to progress up the football league ladder.
East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously accepted the club’s application to improve Oldfields Sports Ground on Monday.
It will see two spectator stands behind the goals, new dugouts, six 15m-high floodlights and a path between the pitch and the pavilion.
However, a two-metre timber fence around the complex originally included in the plans has been scrapped after homeowners living near the ground told club officials they did not want it.
The work will enable the club, which is sitting top of the Staffordshire County Senior League, progress into regional competition in the North West Counties League.
If the application had been rejected, Town’s facilities would not be deemed good enough for the league’s specifications.
But, if the team gets promoted under the stewardship of manager Mark Grimley, it will be just five more promotions away from the professional Football League.
Chairman Peter Douglas told Monday’s committee about the benefits Oldfields’ renovation will give to Uttoxeter.
He said: “18 months ago, Uttoxeter was the largest town in the UK not to have a Saturday football club.
“That speaks volumes for how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.
“We won the Staffordshire First Division in our first season and now we’re at the top of the Premier League.
“We’ve created an under-18s team, an under-16s team and a reserve team and we need to progress to build the club with more junior teams.
“Uttoxeter is crying out for this facility and we’re very conscious that we need to continue the amazing momentum we’ve built up so the project doesn’t die.
“I’m asking the committee to consider the future of Uttoxeter and the fact this development will benefit the whole community.”
Planning permission had looked in doubt when 13 residents signed a petition against the development on the grounds of increased noise and light pollution.
However, their fears were laid to rest after a residents’ meeting with club officials, who explained the increased noise and light levels will only apply during games.
Town have regularly seen more than 100 supporters come to their home games at Oldfields.