A CRICKET club is returning to the crease as members continue to seek permission for new practice nets despite neighbours' concerns about noise levels.

Angry residents, whose homes overlook Darlington Cricket Club, have complained that sound of the whack of leather on willow has impacted on the lives.

Members of Darlington Borough Council's planning committee heard impassioned pleas from three residents on Greener Drive, which is part of the new housing development being built on the former Feethams football ground, when they met last month.

Last month, the council’s planning committee agreed to defer its decision until a site visit was carried out after the cricket club, which has played at the Feethams ground since 1866, submitted a retrospective planning application for the all-weather practice area, including two tracks within cages and nets.

During a passionate debate residents played an audio recording of the noise coming from the nets to highlight the impact it has on their lives whenever the facilities are in use.

Amongst the objectors, are retired electrical engineer David Elliott, 60, and wife Christine, who say they have no problem with the distant clunk of a well-timed off drive, but the positioning of the nets caused outrage.

Speaking after last month's meeting, he said: "This constant day-long barrage that starts at 8.30am and sometimes goes on till 9pm is completely unbearable.

“They’ve put in power for a bowling machine that fires balls at 95mph every seven seconds."

The plan is to make the practice pitches available seven days a week to club players as well as local schools between April and September.

Following the original hearing further letters of objection were submitted to the committee outlining additional concerns.

One resident wrote: "They want to practice 55 hours every week for 27 weeks which equates to 1485 hours or 61.87 days or two months non stop. Do the Cricket Club not realise the extent of their proposal?"

Previously Brian Johnson, the chairman of Darlington Cricket Club, told members that the site had been used for nets for 25-30 years and were essential for developing young players.

The application is recommended for approval by council planning officers.