St Ives Town Football Club have lodged an appeal against the district council’s refusal to grant permission to redevelop their Westwood Road ground, calling the decision “ill-founded”.

A planning application for up to 50 homes was submitted by the club to Huntingdonshire District Council in September 2014.

The club sought permission, in principle, to relocate to a new pitch on the outskirts of town, off Somersham Road, allowing them sell their three-and-a-half acre home, next to the St Ives One Leisure Centre.

But the district council turned down the application, amid concerns over the loss of a sports facility, the quality of the proposed development, and the impact on local wildlife, including the bat population.

But, late last month, the club announced their intention to appeal against the decision, with planning agent David Mead submitting a document setting out the club's case.

In the document, Mr Mead said: "This appeal has been made on the grounds that the appellants maintain that the application was not properly considered in the light of the provisions of the development plan, national policy statements and other material considerations.

"It is considered that the local planning authority's objections to the proposal are ill-founded. In brief, the proposed development would not result in a detrimental impact on the green belt, ecology and an increase in flood risk."

The club's decision to appeal has attracted criticism from some neighbours of the site, however, with an online petition being launched in support of the district council's decision to refuse the plan.

The petition has garnered almost 200 signatures so far and was launched by Joanne Wells.

She posted: "There are serious issues with traffic and parking along Westwood Road. An increase in traffic on this residential road due to this development will exacerbate these problems and endanger pedestrians and cyclists - particularly pupils of St Ivo School.

"Drainage systems are already at full capacity and flooding is an issue. The proposed plans would increase the risk of flooding and raw sewage discharge onto public footpaths and into private gardens."

The Planning Inspectorate will consider the appeal in the months ahead.