NEWPORT Football Club has been given the green light to move to its new ground.

The plans for a new ground on land off Fairlee Road, near the Racecourse roundabout, were approved last night (Tuesday) by the Isle of Wight Council's planning committee.

The proposals, submitted by South Coast Leisure (SCL) will provide Newport FC with a floodlit pitch, main stand and clubhouse, with function room facilities.

Subject to adequate provision for pedestrians coming from Fairlee Road, the application was approved unanimously.

Cllr Geoff Brodie raised concerns about pedestrian access to the site, as people will have to cross Fairlee Road from nearby bus stops to reach the entrance on East Cowes Road.

Cllr Brodie said: "I think this is potentially a good application, provided it is not just about car access. Too often on this Island we worry about car access without actually considering pedestrians and cyclists."

The plans were modified following a consultation with residents. The agreed proposals now include vehicular access via a new entrance off Whippingham Road and an exit via a left only-turn from a newly-constructed feeder road onto Fairlee Road.

The floodlights for the pitch are only permitted to be lit for four days a week, and only between 4pm and 9.30pm.

Objections were raised by residents of East Cowes road, who were concerned about the number of vehicles parking along the road and increased noise and light pollution.

Councillors debated the potential danger of traffic pulling out from the site on to Fairlee Road.

Ward Cllr Matthew Price was absent from the meeting but a statement was read on his behalf. He said supported the application but proposed lowering the Fairlee Road speed limit from 50mph to 40mph. However, officers said speed limits were the remit of the highways authority, not the planning committee.

Peter Westhorpe, secretary of the Newport FC Supporters' Society, said: “We have watched closely over the years as SCL has tried to find a suitable site to relocate the ground and shared their frustrations over the difficulties in finding a site that meets everyone’s collective expectations.

“This is the ideal location for the ground and the proposed facilities are exactly the right specification for our current use and future aspirations. The site is close to Newport, is easily accessible, and will provide us with a modern, low maintenance facility which will allow us to prosper."

SCL, which owns the club's current home at St George's Park, plans to build a retail development on the site, hence the need for the move to a new ground.

SCL's planning consultant, Paul Airey, said: "We can now concentrate on the planning application for a retail and business park at St George's Park. This will generate the funds to build the new stadium and, with a fair wind, we hope to have it built and occupied during the 2018/19 season."