A deal has been struck to avoid the controversial relocation of a village football club from its current base to a township park to make way for a giant water pipeline project.

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

This means the village club will not 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 weeks of talks between the club, water company, council, Hyndburn Tory MP Sara Britcliffe, her Labour opponent at the next General Election and former constituency MP Graham Jones, and Great Harwood and Huncoat councillors Scott Brerton and Dave Parkins an alternative solution has been agreed.

The deal will see United Utilities build new pitches on Bolton Avenue in areas where their engineering work for the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP) will not cause disturbance.

A planning application for the new scheme must be considered by Hyndburn Council planning department.

Miss Britcliffe said: “I know the strength of feeling from those at Huncoat United regarding where they want to play.

"They wanted to stay in Huncoat, despite these engineering works, and I am glad we now have a solution.

“I’m glad also for the residents of Great Harwood, who I know were uneasy about building at Memorial Park.

"This plan will avert the need to do that."

A spokeswoman for United Utilities said: “As a result of collaborative discussions with Hyndburn Council, Huncoat United, Sara Britcliffe MP, and local councillors, we are now developing an alternative option to provide the replacement football pitch at Bolton Avenue Playing Fields.

“We will hold a public exhibition so stakeholders can find out more ahead of submitting the planning application to Hyndburn Council.”

Overton ward's Cllr Brerton said: "Myself and Labour colleagues Dave Parkins and Graham Jones have been working hard for months alongside Huncoat United, Friends of Memorial Park and United Utilities to come up with a better solution than the poorly thought-out plans put forward by Conservative-controlled Hyndburn Council.

"I’d like to personally thank the staff at United Utilities who have been more than willing to look at alternative solutions once they realised the initial plans were severely flawed.

"We welcome Sara Britcliffe’s recent backing of the campaign to make Hyndburn Council see sense.

"This will secure the future of Huncoat United and leave the Memorial Playing Fields untouched."