PLANS to improve tennis courts at a South Lakeland school - and make them available to the community out of hours - have been approved.

A proposal submitted by Cartmel Priory School to install new surfaces, floodlights and fencing have been given the green light.

In a covering letter in support of the application to the district council, a spokesman for the school said the current surface had worn away and 'dipped' in several areas, making it unsafe. 

"During periods of wet weather - of which we have quite a few - water sits on the surface," he said.

"This dirt becomes silt, which needs to be cleaned prior to use to make the courts safe and prevent any accidents or injuries."

The spokesman said the proposed refurbished site would be a 'multi-sports facility' with overlapping markings for four tennis courts, three netball courts, three basketball courts and one football pitch to be laid down. Sockets for netball posts and tennis nets would be installed, while football goals would be built into the line of the fence itself.

The application says the new courts would be open to the public between 5pm and 8pm on weeknights and until 8pm at weekends. 

As part of the scheme, additional drainage would be added to the courts. The new fences - at 3m - that would be installed would be 0.5m higher than the old ones and an additional, second access gate would be added to the courts.

In the covering letter, the school spokesman said: "Floodlights will be installed to provide sufficient light for games to continue throughout the year.

"Our planning request is for lighting until 8.10pm to allow the public time to safely leave the courts before the lights turn off.

"The lights will not be constantly on but will be controlled so they are only on when the courts are in use.

"Lighting designers have advised the school to design a lighting scheme to satisfactorily light the courts but reduce unwanted light elsewhere."