Construction of a new stand for 2,600 Watford Football Club fans can now begin after it was granted planning permission.

Plans for the steel framed spectator stand with a roof, a concourse area at ground level with shops, toilets and new changing rooms for players and officials, were discussed last night.

The new building will have a depth and height similar to the old stand, which is currently being demolished.

It will have a steel frame with concrete seating deck, and the roof will be clad in a grey metal sheeting.

Speaking at a Watford Borough Council meeting last night, Glyn Evans, from the club described the new stand as "a turning point in the history of Watford Football Club."

He said: "For far too many years the image that the club has portrayed nationally and internationally is that the east side was a shambles.

"We have existing planning permission for a much larger structure than that which is currently subject of this application.

"Had there not been a downturn in the economy of the world, we would have built a much bigger stand.

"All this issues relating to crowd, traffic, pollution and noise were addressd in 2008. We will have fewer people than we have permission for at the moment.

"We are a football club in the heart of the community and at the heart of the community."

Local resident Naweed Gulzar said: "There will be more fans bringing more traffic, pollution, and disturbance for locals. Litter will increase, and there will be more noise for surrounding residents.

"There will be more parking problems. Even though it is controlled, fans park in CPZ bays. If a fan does park in a resident’s bay, they have already caused an inconvenience.

"Bigger crowds requite more policing, are the public going to be paying for this?

"I’m not against the new stand, I just want to make sure it’s done properly."

The plans were approved by councillors on the development control committee.

Councillor Ian Sharpe said: "This is not a massive addition to the capacity, it is more of less restoring it from a ramshackle state.

"It’s worse to have a derelict east side of the stadium. We want one that is attractive to the local area, a good place to visit and a good place for supporters.

"We all know how important the club is in the life of the town. Hopefully we will end up with a stadium that is not just for the keen supporters to enjoy but for the whole town to be proud of."

Councillor Nigel Bell said: "I welcome this new east stand, and the stadium into the 21st century.

"Clearly we can’t be looking at some of the changes we want to see in West Watford when the state of the stadium is in such a bad way.

"This will make the place look better and I’m sure it will be a much more welcoming and modern stadium."

Councillor Steve Johnson added: "Please, please, just build it."