A MULTI-PURPOSE sports dome can be built at South Craven School, Cross Hills, despite the concerns of some nearby residents.

However, hours of use were reduced by an hour during the week to between 8.30am and 9pm and by three hours during weekends and bank holidays to 10am to 2pm.

Craven District Council's planning committee was told that the inflatable building would go up on the site of existing tennis courts and next to a multi-purpose sports pitch.

It would be used both by the school, the wider school community and also by the public.

A belt of mature trees would have to be removed to allow the 36ft high dome to be built, but would be replaced, said case officer Neville Watson.

Mr Watson, who described the inflatable dome as being tantamount to a permanent structure, said it would be bespoke to the school.

Fulham FC had a similar structure for training, but that was much larger, he pointed out.

David Ackroyd, of Clayton Hall Road, speaking for objectors, urged rejection of the scheme on the grounds of its closeness to houses, the loss of trees and the amount of noise it was likely to generate. He also questioned the level of community use claimed by the school.

But Sasha Newton, agent for the school, said there was an identified need to improve sports facilities. Plans had been modified in an attempt to address concerns and although it was acknowledged there were objectors, there was also "overwhelming" support.

Mr Watson said the compression plant to keep the building inflated would be inside an acoustic enclosure, to keep the noise down, but he added it was impossible to judge the amount of noise likely to be generated by users of the facility.

Ward councillor Philip Barrett (Ind) said while he supported enhanced sports facilities, he had "serious concerns" about the size of the dome, its incongrous design and proximity to Clayton Hall Road, and also the loss of 15 trees. He called for a restriction of hours, if it was to be approved.

"This type of structure and the noise and light that would be emitted are very much an unknown quantity which could well prove to have serious consequences to adjacent properties," he said.

Cllr Ady Green (Cons) suggested the dome be approved, but with a temporary condition on its hours of use to gauge whether there were any problems.

But Cllr Alan Sutcliffe (Cons) said the school should be allowed its planned hours of up to 10pm during the week and 5pm at weekends because any restriction would be likely to be reflected in the cost of renting it out to community use.

Mr Watson advised against temporary condition and said it would be better to make it a permanent with the option of the school coming back at a later date.