A DECISION on whether to allow a multi-million-pound hockey centre to be built in the city will finally be made next week after months of delays, with council planners recommending it should be approved.

Land on the Old Porcelain Ground, off Droitwich Road, opposite Worcester Garden Centre has been earmarked to be transformed into a new hockey facility as a permanent home for Worcester Hockey Club.

Worcester City Council's planning committee meets next Thursday (February 20) to make a decision. The council's planning officers have recommended it should be approved.

The controversial application received hundreds of comments within a couple of weeks of being submitted and comments from the public continued to flood in until last month.

Last year, the council agreed to loan £2.1 million to cover the cost of building the hockey centre with an opening planned for the end of 2020.

If approved, the hockey centre would be built completely on green belt land which is also part of the city's green network.

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.

The plans show two new international standard hockey pitches, two youth football pitches, a single-storey pavilion with changing rooms and a club room.

A 57-space car park would also be provided along with space for two coaches and two minibuses.

The opening hours would be 8am to 9.30pm on weekdays and 9am to 6.30pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.

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

A three-month consultation on the plan by RGS and Worcester Hockey Club ended on January 22 and the item was pencilled in to be discussed by councillors less than a day later.

The new hockey club was not included on last month's planning committee agenda and public consultation was forced to re-open due to some changes made to the original plan following Sport England’s ‘holding’ objection which it has now withdrawn.

Sport England said, despite wanting to support the new centre, it had to raise an objection as the location of the new hockey pitches would have a negative effect on existing playing fields and more information was needed on the proposed loss of football pitches and how existing football teams would be accommodated.

The planning meeting takes place from 1.30pm in the Guildhall.