College neighbours hit out at academy
A ROW has kicked off about a near £5million bid to turn Stratford Court into a sports academy.
Around 5,000 leaflets are being delivered to neighbours of the site to consult them about the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College proposal.
Drop-in community consultations are also planned at the Stroud campus next week.
But some residents have mounted an internet campaign against what they brand as a marketing exercise.
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The college scheme was unveiled when Stratford Court's owners Stroud District Council began discussing whether to permit the field's use for a possible new academy.
The 8.1 acres are an officially protected outdoor play space.
The plans would involve building classrooms, offices, meeting and changing rooms and installing an all-weather pitch, two grass football pitches and a cross country running circuit.
Stratford Court resident Gail Bradbrook said there was huge opposition on Facebook.
"People are incensed," she said. "Consultation involves options. This isn't consultation, it's a marketing exercise."
Stratford Court is opposite Stratford Park and the college campus in Stratford Road.
College principal Kevin Hamblin said the initial idea was for a new eco-friendly pavilion offering first class sports education, resources and facilities for students as well as schools and sports clubs.
He said the project for a "tangible Olympic legacy" was at a very early stage and added: "We need to hear what local people have to say, so we can take their comments on board if we take these initial ideas forward."
The drop-in consultations at the college are 4pm to 7pm next Thursday and 10am to 1pm on November 10.
The protestors' website is being developed at www.scplaying field.org/contact.