Plans for the first phase of an ambitious £5 million scheme to redevelop a Keighley sports stadium have been submitted to Bradford Council.

Keighley Cougars are seeking permission to rebuild the main stand at their Lawkholme ground.

The wooden structure – which dates from the 1930s – would be stripped back to its original steel frame, and then reconstructed to a new design.

Capacity will be increased to provide covered seating for 870 and new terrace space to the front.

Further work – carried out in nine phases over about five years – would include the provision of modern changing rooms and redevelopment of the Cougar Park gym, education facilities and function suites.

Club chairman, Gary Fawcett, said there had been a massively positive reaction to the scheme since it was unveiled in the Keighley News last month.

“A lot of people have approached me and said ‘wow – this is what Keighley needs’,” he said.

“The feedback has been so good and extremely supportive.”

He hopes a decision on the first phase plans will be made by the council within six to eight weeks.

Efforts would then begin to raise the £500,000 or so needed to finance the initial stage.

Funding would be obtained through a combination of grants and loans, and from public donations.

“We need planning permission in place first before we start with the fundraising, which will be carried out over the summer,” added Mr Fawcett.

“Our last home game will be at the end of August, and the aim is to start work then so the new stand will be ready for the following season.”

Plans have been drawn up by Saltaire-based Riverside Design Studio Architects, working closely with the rugby league club, construction professionals and the council.

Once the scheme is complete, the state-of-the-art facilities will be opened up to the community.

The initiative has the support of the Rugby Football League, which has offered what practical help it can, and has been welcomed by Keighley MP Kris Hopkins and community leaders, who say it will provide a massive boost to the town.

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