A HAMPSHIRE football club has been given planning permission to build a "healthy living centre" for people deemed to be at risk of heart disease.

Run by Southampton-based Wessex Heartbeat, the centre will form part of a new 468-seater stand at AFC Totton's ground at Salisbury Road, Calmore.

Outline planning permission for the facilities has been granted by New Forest District Council.

In 2018 AFC Totton and Wessex Heartbeat agreed to work together to raise money for the charity and as well as raising awareness of how to stay healthy.

The new stand will be roughly the same height as the current one but 60% longer.

A report to councillors said it would have a greater physical presence than the existing structure and significantly alter the character of a "modest and relatively open stadium".

But the report cited the benefits of the healthy living centre, which will provide those at risk of heart disease with exercise and education.

It said: "The applicants have submitted a supporting statement advising that the proposal sits hand in hand with the existing club.

"The proposal would in part be used by club members and players to aid training and there is, therefore, considered to be an inextricable link between existing and proposed facilities.

"The design of the building mimics the overall form of the existing stand, from which it would be separated by a narrow single-storey linking structure.

"In this respect the design is entirely appropriate and helps create a stadium with a distinct character rather than a mish-mash collection of temporary structures."

The report said the safety and wellbeing of people who lived and worked within the district was one of the key objectives set out in the council's corporate plan.

Totton and Eling Town Council supported the proposed development.

In a letter to NFDC it welcomed AFC Totton's expansion plans, adding: "It will be good for employment and the local economy to see the club make these upgrades."

NFDC also received a 37-name petition calling for the application to be given the go-ahead.

As reported in the Daily Echo, AFC Totton has also applied for planning permission to build two single-storey extensions to its clubhouse.