A RUGBY league club has succeeded in its plans to replace changing facilities described as not fit for “farm animals”.

Bolton Council planning officers approved the proposals from Westhoughton Lions for a new clubhouse, and said they would enhance the character of the area around the ground in Cunningham Road.

The club will build a new clubhouse, with function rooms and changing facilities, to replace old steel containers that players have changed in for decades.

At a Westhoughton town council meeting in May, council leader Cllr David Chadwick said: “People would not put farm animals in the current conditions that players are forced to change in”.

He said he was thrilled that the plans had now been approved.

Club chairman John Thompson said they were exploring ways of helping to pay for the venture and appealed to local businesses to support them.

In a report, planning officers said: “The proposal would provide the benefits of establishing a permanent solution to meet the requirements of the rugby club with modern facilities, whilst providing improved access and car parking facilities.

“The proposal complies with policy and is recommended for approval subject to conditions.”

Concerns had been raised at a town council meeting about the impact extra traffic would have on local residents.

But the report from planning officers said the scheme would move “unsightly containers” away from the boundaries closest to residents.

It added that the provision of 49 car parking spaces would greatly improve access.

Mr Thompson said: “I’m really pleased obviously and we are looking to get as much support as possible now, such as sponsors.

“If any local businesses would like to get involved, the more the better.”

Cllr Chadwick, for Westhoughton South, said: “I think its wonderful that they are moving forward as they are an organisation that provides recreation and sport for the children of Westhoughton.

“It has an effect on anti-social behaviour in the town if young people are engaged in activities.”