The bones of a deal to prevent the controversial relocation a village football club from its current base to a township park, to make way for a giant water pipeline project, appear to have been agreed.

The £1.75 billion project to upgrade the 70-year-old Haweswater Aqueduct, which supplies water from the Lake District to the Lancashire and Greater Manchester, involves major work on land off Bolton Avenue, Huncoat.

This means the village football club would have to move for at least seven years.

North-West water supplier United Utilities and Hyndburn Council originally planned to move Huncoat United to two newly-created pitches at Great Harwood's Memorial Playing Fields.

This would require major works at the park and the felling of trees, angering local residents and councillors in both places.

Now following intensive talks between the football club, water company, council, Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe and Great Harwood and Huncoat councillors, an alternative solution is close to being agreed.

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “We have been in regular discussion with Hyndburn Council, Huncoat United, Sara Britcliffe, and local councillors regarding the impact on football pitches during construction work on the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP).

“We remain committed to working to minimise any disruption and are exploring alternative proposals.”

Miss Britcliffe said: "I have just met with United Utilities and Huncoat United regarding their future playing facilities.

"This comes following UU’s HARP infrastructure works which would impact their pitches at Bolton Avenue and mean they had to move, potentially to Great Harwood, which I know caused some angst.

"By working closely with UU and Huncoat United, Councillors and Council officers, we are working towards a resolution to this situation that everyone can agree with."

Huncoat United Juniors FC said: "Sara, UU, HBC, local councillors and other grassroots organisations have all been working together to find a solution that will work for everyone.

"To loosely use a footballing phrase, they think it's all over, it very nearly is now."

Overton ward councillor Scott Brerton said: “Myself and fellow Labour councillors, including Huncoat's Dave Parkin, have been working with Friends of Memorial Park, Huncoat United and other stakeholders to press for a solution that suited both Harwood residents and the football club.

"That is hopefully what we will get, rather than the poorly thought-out plans put forward by Hyndburn Council.

"United Utilities have been very accommodating.

" I'm confident that a solution can be found that will see Huncoat United get a much more suitable home in the Huncoat area and leave Memorial Park untouched.

"Nothing's finalised yet but conversations have been very, very positive."