A £30 million super-school has been hailed as a vital part of a Staffordshire town’s future, but for a long-established rugby club it could spell the end of an era.
Rugeley Rugby Club has been based at Hagley Fields, Western Springs Road, for more than 60 years. But the 2,000-place learning campus which will replace Fair Oak and Hagley Park high schools, as well as the Aelfgar Sixth Form college, is expected to swallow up much of the 40-acre site.
The massive scheme will need the blessing of Sport England before it is rubber-stamped.
That means suitable re-placements for pitches lost in development will have to be provided, and could lead to community sports teams sharing school facilities.
But there are fears that Stafforshire County Council will commit to providing replacement playing fields and then fail to make any provision for rugby, and the Rugeley club, which has morew than 160 members, would be forced out of its long-term home.
Club secretary Martin de Ridder, a solicitor in Rugeley, said: “We don’t object to the school – we have a lot of young members and we can see that the school is a positive step for the town.
“Our concern is that our needs are going to be overlooked, despite having been here for a very long time.
“We have seen a similar thing happen to the St Leonard’s club in Stafford.
Mr de Ridder added: “There may be pitches, but they don’t even have to be for rugby. It is sometimes overlooked for football, but while football teams in Rugeley often only last for a couple of years, we have been established for a long time indeed and we hope to be taken into account.”