The treasurer of a Suffolk bowls club was 'delighted' after permission was secured to develop housing on a derelict former ladies green, which will help 'set the club up for the future'.

East Suffolk Council has approved Felixstowe and Suffolk Bowls Club's application to turn the back green at its St Edmund's Road premises into three homes, with funds from the redevelopment being used to bring the club's buildings and surroundings up to a high and modern standard.

Gary Cooper said the money would help to pay bills and carry out modifications, including replacing the club's maintenance hut, while the club had 'taken a hit' from its own funds over the last two years to carry out work, including improving the toilets.

In September, the EADT revealed that improvements to the main green and clubhouse were expected to cost £200,000 and potentially rise to £250,000 and in a letter, the club warned that without at least £150,000 from the sale of the green, it may have to go into liquidation.

READ MORE: Felixstowe Bowls Club proposes selling green for 3 homes

Mr Cooper said: "We are delighted, obviously, that it has been approved. It has taken a long time and cost us a lot of money and we had to do lots of testing for the council.

"It will set us up for the future now because we have taken the hit to do the upgrading to the green. We hope it will help us pay our bills and to do some of the modifications that we want to do."

He said the club was 'flourishing' and hoping to attract new members from other clubs nearby that had folded.

"We are hoping to project this club into the future, to get international players and we are hoping to keep the club a flourishing venue well into the future," Mr Cooper added.

READ MORE: New use for old Deben school in Felixstowe secures planning permission

The back green was used heavily from the 1950s to 1970s when women were not allowed to bowl on the main- or 'Gentleman's'- green, but subsequent gender equality changes mean all members can use both greens, resulting in declining use of the back green.

Although the back green was hired by another club for a period of time, the cost of maintenance became too high and it has not reopened since 2016.

Instead, the main green now accommodates all the club's bowling activities and has the capacity for more members.

READ MORE: Felixstowe news