Members said the community centre would be “an asset to the school and local community” when they met at Stratford Town Hall on Tuesday 10th December.

The design and access statement submitted to Stratford District Council says that the centre is planned alongside the school athletics track.

The project is being led by Stratford Athletic Club, in partnership with the school, for the benefit of the community.

The centre aims to provide a one-stop activity, social and training facility for schools, local clubs and organisations, including disabled people and disadvantaged children.

The proposal has arisen in response to the Stratford Town Trust Community Challenge to support exceptional projects bringing benefits to the local community. The submission to the town trust was well-received and the club was invited to participate in stage two of the challenge.

Stratford Athletic Club has 55 volunteers actively engaged in club-related activities. This equates to a voluntary financial contribution circa £80,000 per annum.

The design and access statement says: “It is envisaged the number of volunteer’s hours will increase if the community centre comes to fruition to provide additional support for the increased number of members.”

Paul Bearman, of Stratford Athletic Club, is leading the project and he told the Herald: “It’s a unique project. The whole thing, which includes building, equipment, refurbishment and supporting the club’s outreach work will cost around £250,000.”

Representing Sport England, planning manager Bob Sharples did not raise an objection to the application. 

When the  Herald went to press, the district council had received one objection letter by nearby resident Daniel Couldrey. He said he didn’t object to the plan in any way apart from the access element. He wrote: “Presumably this centre’s aim is to bring more spectators to athletic events which is fine but how will people access this facility?” He alleged there were large numbers of school children already jumping the fence opposite the all-weather courts at lunchtime and finishing time, as well as people going to play football or hockey doing the same thing.

The target date for the district council to decide the application is Wednesday 15th January.

The town trust’s community challenge winners will be announced at the Pride of Stratford Awards in February.