YORK could be set for a sporting boost after plans for the city’s first indoor tennis centre moved a step closer.

Proposals for a temporary inflatable dome to be placed over the courts at the University of York’s Heslington West campus will be debated by councillors next week and have been recommended for approval by planners.

The cover would be put up when the university found use of the facilities – currently open to the elements – was hampered by bad weather which currently leaves them out of action or severely underused for much of the academic year. If the dome is installed at the site next to Heslington Lane, the university plans to look into whether a permanent cover can be funded by the end of its lifespan if the number of people using the courts makes this financially viable.

The campus currently has three courts.

Planning agents who have drawn up the application, which goes before City of York Council’s planning councillors next Thursday, said the inflatable roof could mean their use at least doubling.

A report by development management officer Erik Matthews said: “It is part of a wider scheme to diversify the use of the university sports facilities and to develop the sport of tennis in the locality.

“It would improve the sports on offer to current and prospective students and the local community.

“The university intends the proposed facility to form a major element of its tennis development strategy, to increase participation in competitive and recreational tennis, including the ability of local clubs to block-book courts through the winter.”

The courts were resurfaced last year in a £130,000 programme, with O’Neill Associates, who submitted the proposals on the university’s behalf, saying tennis players who wanted indoor facilities in York currently had to become members of fitness and leisure clubs.