Angry residents confronted an academy boss and councillors over claims a new school will be taking control of a popular park when it opens next year.

The new 900-pupil Bohunt Education Trust academy in Broadwater, Worthing, was given the green-light because of a need for more school places in the town. It will open on the old Northbrook College site in September 2015.

But residents are concerned about the academy looking to use the popular Manor Sports Ground as its playing field. The Worthing Borough Council-owned field has been available for public use since 1902 and is currently home to cricket and hockey matches, events and festivals.

Campaigners say the Bohunt Trust has included the field in its new school prospectus and an e-mail seen by The Argus from Bohunt boss Neil Strowger claims talks are in an “advanced stage” for the school to use the field. The council has denied the claims.

At a heated meeting with residents, Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex County Council tonight (Friday) at Queen Street Church, Neil Strowger, Bohunt head teacher, said: "We just want to say first of all that we're not an energy company looking to do fracking or another corporate beast like Tesco opening a giant store. We are just a school trying to set up and deliver the best education for kids and part of that involves giving them sports facilities."

Local resident Barbara Cook asked why official Bohunt promotional material contained claims the school was in advanced negotiations for the Manor Ground.

Worthing Borough Council leader Paul Yallop answered and said: "I would like to say first there has been some communication issues here but we need to be clear that the first thing we all want to do is give children the best education. Are we all agreed on that?"

Cllr Yallop was interrupted before he could finish his sentence and was told by a resident to "stop time wasting and talk about the Manor" - which was followed by a round of applause from the rapturous audience.

Bohunt's Neil Strowger said he "believed there was a possibility" the school could use the field.

When pressed by the members of the Broadwater Manor Action Group about who authorised the school to make claims about using the field in its marketing material, Mr Strowger said "conversations had been held" - but he would not reveal who with.

Colin James, head of planning at West Sussex County Council, said: "The responsibility for advertising the school rests with the sponsor (Bohunt Education Trust)."

Later another resident claimed councillors had been "underhand" in its dealings with Bohunt.

Mr James reassured the crowd of up to 100 residents that no decision had been made about the Manor Ground and sparked an angry response when he said: "The consultation starts tonight".

A 150-strong petition to keep a well-used car park under the ownership of the council was also handed over to councillors. Campaigners said the car park, in nearby Queen Street, had been touted for sale by the authority and could be used for up to 100 Bohunt staff.

But Cllr Bryan Turner responded: "We are not progressing with the sale of the car park anymore. If we do, we'll consult you."

It is assumed both the car park and the Manor Sports Ground field will become 'shared use' facilities between the public and the school when the academy opens next year.