EASTLEIGH'S Silverlake Stadium has changed beyond all recognition since chairman Stewart Donald arrived at the club late in 2011.

But Spitfires fans ain't seen nothing yet!

Fingers crossed, the New Year will herald their biggest ground improvement project to date.

Planning permission will be sought for a 2,200-seater stand stretching from corner flag to corner flag on the Stoneham Lane side.

It will replace the current main stand that was officially opened by former Saints chairman Rupert Lowe before the start of the 2004/05 season after Eastleigh had won promotion to the Conference South.

Subject to council permission, Donald estimates the new structure - incorporating changing rooms, executive boxes, bars, offices, a shop/ticket office and a conference facility that can be hired out - will cost £3-4 million and take a year to build.

It has been designed so that work can begin during the season while the existing facilities remain in use and then the current main stand can be taken down during the summer months.

Oxfordshire-based businessman Donald, who has already pumped upwards of £3 million into the club, said: "Subject to planning being approved, it will mean some real progress off the pitch with vastly improved facilities and infrastructure.

"It will be an extremely exciting development for the club and will hopefully generate a lot of non-footballing revenue which can go towards making the club far more financially independent and successful.

"The next phase will really take the club up to Football League standard and should encourage many more people to come along to games."

Providing they get the green light, Eastleigh will waste no time getting the work started.

"We've got it all priced up and organised and, if the council say 'yes', we can get cracking," said Donald.

"The way it's designed means we can open it in stages. It will be in five sections and we can build as we go along.

"We don't want to be in a position where we've got no seats on that side of the ground."

The Spitfires - currently fourth in the Vanarama National League - will also seek approval for a footpath which would spare fans having to walk along the north section of Stoneham Lane.

A new road closure came into operation for Monday's game against Aldershot which saw the Concorde Club end of the lane closed three hours before kick-off and an hour after the match to ensure pedestrians can walk safely to and from the ground.

But Donald said: "If we can get pedestrian access on that side of the ground, supporters won't have to walk down Stoneham Lane.

"We've been trying to get a footpath for a couple of years, but it's taken us to get the Bolton FA Cup game (with a near 5,000 crowd expected) for people to realise there's a problem.

"Now we've got the Safety Advisory Group as an ally, we can go to the council and say 'how about a footpath on that side?' "