GLOWING tribute has been paid to Keighley Cougars.

The rugby league club has received high praise from the town's MP.

Robbie Moore describes the Lawkholme club as a "cornerstone" of the community and a champion of "brilliant" causes.

He was speaking after plans to redevelop Cougar Park were approved by Bradford Council.

The scheme features a new stand at the ground, plus facilities available for use by the public including classrooms, a cafe, fitness studio and health suite.

Around £2.25 million has been awarded towards the project from Keighley Towns Fund, a pot of Government money.

Mr Moore said he had met the club's co-owners, Ryan O'Neill and Kaue Garcia, a number of times during the formulation of the scheme.

He says: "After much lobbying in Westminster, ministerial visits and many meetings with Ryan and Kaue, I'm delighted to see that our mighty Keighley Cougars have been given the green light – receiving planning consent for their landmark stand redevelopment, which is backed by the £2.25m of direct funding from our Conservative Government through the Towns Fund.

"It is impossible not to recognise the massive positive impact that Keighley Cougars have had on the sport and our town as a whole, championing brilliant causes both within and outside rugby league.

"A cornerstone of our community for nearly 150 years, it's fantastic that Cougar Park will now be improved for the benefit of fans, players and indeed our entire community long into the future."

The proposals approved by Bradford Council are a revised version of an original scheme put forward before Keighley Cougars' relegation from the Betfred Championship.

But Ryan O'Neill, also the rugby league club's chief executive officer, said the only "significant difference" is a reduction in the number of seats in the stand – and the new design has been "future-proofed" by being able to provide extra seating if required.

He added: "The redesign includes all the facilities from the original design, which will offer a fantastic community space for Keighley as well as the Cougars.

"This is an exciting project and we're keen to get shovels in the ground."

The club has been a pioneer within sport in its support of the LGBTQ+ community.

It stages Pride matches and hosts events at Cougar Park, and last year became the UK's first sports club to dedicate a terracing area – adorned with vibrant rainbow colours – to the community.