A FOOTBALL club at the heart of a community is planning a major upgrade of its facilities.

The scheme – at Silsden AFC’s stadium – would include a new 100-seat stand, hospitality unit, ticket office and standing terracing.

A planning application for the improvements to the Keighley Road ground has been submitted to Bradford Council.

If approval is given, the aim is for the work to be carried out during the summer, before the start of the new season.

It’s hoped that around two-thirds of the funding will come from a football foundation stadia improvement fund, with the club having to find the remainder. Grant aid would be sought.

Silsden AFC president, Barry Thomas, says the improvements are needed to meet league standards – and to help ensure a future legacy for the community.

The club plays in the premier division of the Northern Counties East Football League.

“Our existing seated spectator stand was built – mainly from wood – in 1936,” said Mr Thomas.

“We have done bits of work over the years, but the timber is rotting and there’s woodworm.

“The stand desperately needs replacing.”

The proposal is to construct in its place a steel-fabricated stand, which would be built onsite.

An existing hospitality unit, housed in a dilapidated portable cabin, will also be replaced. The new purpose-built unit will be constructed in stone matching the clubhouse, and will include disabled facilities.

Stone will be used too to build the replacement ticket office, currently also an old portable cabin.

And a new, covered standing terrace – accommodating 50 spectators – will be provided between existing clubhouse porches.

Mr Thomas says the club is strongly family and community orientated – and continues to go from strength to strength.

It has more than 300 members – including two senior teams, a women’s team and a hugely-successful junior section.

“We are growing all the time,” said Mr Thomas.

“As well as the main pitch, we have three more senior – and five junior ­– pitches. People can come along and play football anytime.

“The ground is owned by Silsden Playing Fields Trust and is very much a community facility, with other sports sharing the land.

“We have a dedicated team of more than 20 volunteers and a strong committee. The club’s main sponsor is Cobbydale Construction in Silsden, and we support the town by using local traders whenever possible.

“The improvements would help safeguard the future and mean we can leave a legacy for the community.”