Residents have raised concerns about late-night noise and nuisance after a decision to turn an old recreation ground into a family sports area.

Last week Calne Town Council was granted planning permission to replace the old ground at Hillcroft, Anchor Road, which was originally opened in 1891.

The ground will be converted to a multi-use games area (MUGA), similar to one at nearby Beversbrook. This will measure 14 by 25 metres and be surrounded by a fence about three metres high.

It will include target boards mounted on the fence for youngsters to kick balls at and the existing basketball area will be refurbished.

Playinnovation – which will provide the equipment – plans to combat the noise created by balls being kicked against the fence, by placing neoprene rubber dampeners along the length of each post.

But at a recent planning meeting, residents raised concerns about a target board on the outside of the fencing, meaning it could be used at night even if the facility was locked.

There are five houses at Hillcroft, between 60 to 65 metres from the field, and residents from nearby Anchor Road have also commented on the application.

Speaking at the meeting, resident Peter Stubbs said: “The facility was not designed to be locked but with this external target game, it means there will always be access. The targets are massive, a three metre by four metre sounding board.”

Coun Howard Marshall said: “I have spoken to a number of the residents and they seem to be saying that they are not against it being built, what they are concerned about is the noise and the anti-social behaviour.

“Access to that board is 24/7 and youngsters coming out of the rugby club, or just passing by, could be kicking balls and I don’t think that’s fair on the residents. “They already suffer from anti-social behaviour.”

Plans for the MUGA were originally developed in response to concerns about anti-social behaviour from young people in areas of the town, and Calne’s mayor, Roy Golding, said he hoped the new area would have a positive impact.

He said: “We have got to take into account people’s concerns, but it’s a playing field and a recreation ground. If you talk to young people they always complain there is nothing to do. I think Calne is beginning to give them something to do.”

Coun Peter Doyle said complaints could still be resolved as the council would prepare a management plan before anything was built. This will include details of any CCTV system, when the site will be open and how it will be maintained and secured.