Not everyone is happy with plans for a Steven Gerrard Academy

Ray Brown and Irene Bexton at the consultation event, the former wearing a grey jacket and top and the latter wearing a red coat
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post)

People in a Nottinghamshire village are said to be worried that plans for a Steven Gerrard Academy in the county could increase the flood risk in their area. Fears over the loss of a popular community centre have also been expressed as progress is made on a new community pavilion and young people's centre in Stapleford.

The building, based on the current Hickings Lane Recreation Ground, would partly house the Steven Gerrard Academy. It is one of six projects funded by £21 million of Government funding given to Stapleford.

Despite the plans being welcomed by organisations including Stapleford Town FC, a community consultation event on Thursday (May 23) heard concerns from many. Jenny Baxter, 43, is part of a residents' action group in Trowell.

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People there are said to be concerned that the Hickings Lane Recreation Ground plans, forcing the relocation of the cricket club to Trowell, will increase flooding in their area. Ms Baxter said: "The field that the cricket pitch will be on is our only flood alleviation in the area. People in Trowell are really worried about it because we've got a lot of elderly people in the area as well."

Another major concern raised was about the future of the hundreds of people who use the New Stapleford Community Centre on Washington Drive each week. Irene Bexton, the treasurer at the community centre, said the building would be lost under current plans.

The current Hickings Lane Recreation Ground in Stapleford
The current Hickings Lane Recreation Ground in Stapleford -Credit:Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post

The centre is being offered a space inside the new community pavilion, but Ms Bexton says current plans would not be big enough for many of the activities hosted by the centre, particularly indoor mat bowls. Ms Bexton added: "A lot of the people who use our centre are getting very worried. It's all run by volunteers and we've got groups like karate, yoga and dancing.

"The new hub just isn't going to be big enough for what we need." Ray Brown, also involved with the community centre, added on the new community pavilion: "It's supposed to be a community centre but it's all geared towards the football lot."

Sam Comerie, regeneration project manager at Broxtowe Borough Council, was at the consultation event to address concerns. Overall, Ms Comerie said that the project was still in its early stages and that the council wanted to work in collaboration with residents and affected groups to alleviate issues like space for the community centre and flooding.

On the latter issue, Ms Comerie said improving general drainage in the area is an option and added: "Issues including the drainage will stay at the forefront of our minds." On the broader problems surrounding the loss of the New Stapleford Community Centre, Ms Comerie said there is the potential to extend the current plans for the community pavilion, within the limits of the grant funding and usual planning processes.

The regeneration project manager added: "The idea is that this is for all sorts of different communities with different interests. It's about having a flexible space that can meet health and wellbeing needs and public health needs."

A spokesperson for the Steven Gerrard Academy previously said: "Steven Gerrard Academy are delighted to announce plans to launch a post-16 education and football programme in Nottinghamshire from September 2024, with the support of Broxtowe Borough Council and Stapleford Town FC.

"When the academy was initially approached with a view to bringing further education provision to Stapleford, we felt our courses could genuinely change the lives of young people in the area and those that surround it. Upon completion of the new Community Pavilion building, funded through the Towns Fund (based at the Hickings Lane Recreation Ground), the academy will offer a combination of full-time BTEC Level 3 qualifications, including sport and media."