Police chiefs gave ­Hillsborough a clean bill of health while a more junior officer was raising concerns about the ground, the inquest into the football disaster has heard.

But Terence Stuart, the former head of the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) unit responsible for public order and football matches, denied there was "complacency" within the force and told the jury it was "stunning" to now be shown an internal memo raising concerns about the stadium.

The retired officer was questioned about his involvement with Hillsborough in the years before the disaster when he was the superintendent in charge of the Force Operations division, with responsibility for policing football matches and was also the footbll liaison officer for South Yorkshire Police.

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He left the post just a month before the disaster on April 15 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the Leppings Lane terrace of the ground during an FA Cup semi-final.

Mr Stuart was asked about a paper trail of numerous letters and memos dating back to the 1980s involving Hillsborough.

The jury was shown a memo from an Inspector Calvert on 'F' Division of SYP, covering the Hillsborough stadium, to his boss, the Chief Superintendent, dated June 11 1986.

In it the inspector complained of "crowd access to the Leppings Lane" and "congestion due to crash barriers" but approaches to the club had met with "little success in many cases".

Mr Stuart said such matters were not brought to his attention and that he had never seen the document in his life.

The inquest continues.