HAMPSHIRE'S Rose Bowl could be just days away from becoming a crowd-pulling location for international day and night cricket.

The county cricket club is pressing ahead with plans for state-of-the-art permanent floodlights at the ground in West End.

Last September the Daily Echo revealed that pioneering Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove wanted to make the Rose Bowl the main ground in England for hosting day and night international cricket.

The cricket chief said he was prepared to find about £2m to pay for floodlights to help establish West End as a regular destination on the international circuit.

Now the plan is set to take a major leap forward as Eastleigh councillors consider proposals for permanent floodlighting on six 30-metre static columns.

The application for permanent floodlighting comes before Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee on March 14.

Use of the lighting would be restricted between April and September on no more than six occasions each year.

The club says the locations for the siting of the columns have been carefully chosen to ensure the minimum visual impact on the surrounding area.

But residents have expressed fears over the possible impact of the proposed floodlights on the area.

Mr Kerry Payne, chairman of the Telegraph Wood Residents' Association, said that the Rose Bowl was an excellent facility but added: "If the floodlights are going to be used on six occasions then why do they need such big towering lights?

"They are going to throw out a lot of light and be a blot on the landscape."

He believed that they would be used more than six times a year, including for concerts.

So far temporary floodlighting has been used by the club for evening fixtures and events.

The planning application has also been backed up with a letter from Mr Bransgrove.

He points out that the Rose Bowl, pictured, has been chosen as the venue for this summer's debut Twenty20 International between England and Australia. He said: "However to secure a long-term commitment to this magnificent ground, we will need to offer English cricket something new and different."

He says that currently there is no cricket ground in the United Kingdom that can offer world-class floodlights.