A request to extend Workington AFC's lease at their Borough Park ground to 75 years has been rejected.

Councillor Will Wilkinson asked Allerdale Council to consider extending the football club’s lease, which currently has less than five years left to run, to help them access funding.

But a number of councillors opposed the plan and, with 27 voting against and 16 in favour at the full council meeting, it was turned down.

Councillor Alan Smith claimed such a lease would be “an albatross around their necks.”

The former leader, who worked on plans for an 8,000-capacity stadium to house the club and rugby league side Workington Town before a new independent-Tory administration scrapped them last year, said a new home was still necessary.

“I looked at this motion very hard and gave it a lot of thought and I would support the motion if I was voting with my heart but, unfortunately, you have to vote with your head,” he said.

Coun Wilkinson claimed that work on a new sports village to replace the previous plans had failed, leaving the football club in a "perilous state", and said they would like to redevelop their current home.

His proposal said: "With such a short period of time remaining on the lease, Reds are finding it impossible to access funding or grants of any description to carry out improvement plans or to implement any new infrastructure.

"As we all know Borough Park is now in a tired state and constantly needs ongoing repairs in order to maintain league and safety standards to allow the paying public to watch games, and this is the club's main revenue source."

The idea was seconded by Councillor Herbert Briggs, who said he had experience as a club secretary for a local football club and knew the importance of a long lease to funding.

But Councillor Mike Johnson, the current acting leader, said negotiations were still ongoing over the sports village.

He said: “We are engaging well and are open to an arrangement but it is not currently appropriate to grant a lease to the Reds because we are continuing to explore together what the future looks like."

Councillor Markus Campbell-Savours saw merit in Coun Wilkinson’s motion and said he could support it if it came back in six months and there had not been "clear movement."

Coun Wilkinson said the club's chairman, Les Byers, was open to a longer lease.

“He does not think a 75-year lease would be a millstone round their neck, in fact he is very excited and open to the idea," he added.