AN aerodynamic new stand for a football club with a 150-year history has been given the green light as a major regeneration initiative gathers pace.

The development at AFC Darwen’s Anchor Ground - which includes a sports-themed bar; club office; multi-use room for lectures, training, fitness; boardroom; and sheltered area for fans with viewing balcony - has been granted planning permission.

The new south stand and clubhouse will have a roof shape inspired by an aircraft wing and will hold 690 spectators

They are being partly paid for out of £250,000 for the Anchor Ground’s redevelopment obtained from the government as part of the Darwen Town Deal.

The news follows Blackburn with Darwen Planning Committee approving major repair and restoration works to Darwen Tower, also partly financed by the government-backed initiative.

A third Darwen Town Deal project - transforming the Junction Four Skatepark with Olympic-standard training facilities for skateboarders and BMX riders including a street skate plaza, dirt jump and pump track - will be considered by the planning committee next month.

The project, the Darwen Tower restoration and skate park upgrade are all being partly paid for out of £750,000 obtained from the government as the first part of the Darwen Town Deal. The money will also pay towards a proposed elite cricket academy at Darwen Vale.

A bid for up to another £25million from the scheme is due to be submitted shortly.

Wayne Wild, chair of the Town Deal Board, said: “It’s such a good feeling to see the ball rolling on these projects.

“These facilities will be some of the best around, in the country even, and will be equipped to host national and international events – bringing in visitors to help support the town’s economy and create much-needed jobs.

“It’s also a chance to inspire the town’s youngsters – encouraging them to develop their passion and love of sports in these first-class facilities facilities. AFC Darwen really is an important part of the fabric of the town."

Cllr Phil Riley, the council’s regeneration boss, said: “In these difficult times, these projects provide a glimmer of hope, really good news to be celebrated. We know they are really important to the residents of Darwen."