Sports facilities at an East Renfrewshire school are to be upgraded after plans for an all-weather athletics track and artificial pitch were given the go-ahead.

The proposals for Mearns Castle High, submitted by council chiefs, have been divisive, with 64 letters of support and 63 objections submitted to the planning committee.

Provost Jim Fletcher said an upgrade to the school’s sports field was “desperately needed” but councillors voted to impose a condition which means the facility will have to shut at 7pm from Monday to Friday, rather than the 8pm suggested by council officers.

The school had suggested a 7pm closing time.

A council officer said the facilities would only be for educational use, including sporting events with other schools, which could be in the early evenings or Saturday mornings.

Objectors expressed concerns over the glare from proposed floodlights, increased noise, a loss of privacy, more traffic and inconsiderate parking.

Those in support of the application believe the improvement of the facilities will have exercise and health-related benefits.

Provost Fletcher said: “Mearns Castle has poorer facilities than most of our other high schools and I think the upgrade is desperately needed.

“Clearly that is recognised by the school community, given the level of support there is for this application.

“I do think we need to keep Mearns Castle at the forefront as one of our premier schools. The children that go there deserve the best facilities that we as a council can give them.”

Provost Fletcher said he was “surprised” by the restriction on opening hours, adding: “I don’t personally see the need to go to 7pm, given other schools are running until 10pm at least.”

However, Councillor Jim Swift suggested the 7pm closing time and his amendment passed by four votes to three.

He said: “There is a significantly greater proximity of houses to these sports facilities than there are in other local facilities. They are literally across the road."

Councillor Stewart Miller added: “I can remember playing hockey on that field many, many years ago and I don’t think it will have been upgraded ever since.

“I would suggest that this playing field really does need an update for Mearns Castle, one of the biggest schools we’ve got.

“I live very close to Williamwood High School and I see the lights on Williamwood burning to 10pm at night. A lot of the neighbours have a lot of problems with the lights there.”

The track and sports pitch will be able to open from 9am until 7pm on Mondays to Fridays and from 9am until 1pm on Saturdays.