FORMAL plans for a multi-million-pound state-of-the-art hockey centre in the city have been put forward with a decision expected to be made at the start of next year.

The plans submitted as part of a joint venture by RGS Worcester and Worcester Hockey Club for an almost £3 million international standard hockey centre in Worcester have been submitted to Worcester City Council.

The plan was backed by Worcester City Council which offered to loan £2.1 million to help see it built.

The land is owned by the city council and would be leased jointly for 30 years to RGS and Worcester Hockey Club with agreements to make sure the facility is built.

If the plans are approved, the hockey centre is expected to open by the end of 2020.

The plans show two new international standard hockey pitches, two youth football pitches, a single-storey pavilion with changing rooms and a club room and a 36-space car park with coach and minibus spaces.

The plans are expected to go before the council’s planning committee in January or February next year.

The application has already received hundreds of supportive comments and a number of objections.

Alan Barnes, of Farne Avenue, said the city needed to move into the 21st century and it would be fantastic for schools to be able to play on one of the best pitches in the UK.

Sebastian Ricketts, a student at the University of Worcester, said it had been a struggle to be able to train and play fixtures as the university’s pitches were unplayable during the winter.

He said: “This new facility will be imperative for the university team and the university itself to be able to use for a plethora of activities.”

Several objections were raised by parents whose children attended nearby Abberley House Nursery over safety concerns.

Sara Rawlinson, of O’Keys Lane, in Fernhill Heath said: “The risk of death to a child by a hockey ball flying over the fence is high. Noise levels from whistles and people will not only be a disruption to children playing freely in the nursery setting but will disrupt sleeping babies. Parking will cause a hazard, wildlife would be disrupted and reduced especially as Abberley House Nursery is a hedgehog refuge site.”

Hockey coach and umpire Andrew Hadley, of Hillery Road, in Worcester said he objected to the plan due to the limited car parking and the disruption it would cause to Abberley House Nursery. He also said the floodlights would be imposing and unsightly.

Consultation ends on December 4. The plans can be viewed via the planning section of Worcester City Council’s website.

The application number is 19/00835/FUL.