The Environment Agency scheme will see a wall - reaching up to 1.6m in some areas - built across the Meadows playing fields on the banks of the River Trent.
Infrastructure work began on the scheme in February but the council only granted final planning permission last week after the agency made changes to plans in response to local consultation.
The project is part of a wider flood-alleviation scheme to protect homes and businesses along a 30km stretch of the Trent.
Local resident and campaigner Jonathan Hughes called the proposals "disgusting" and said improvements should be made to the existing flood defence that surrounds the fields instead.
"There is no reason why the original alignment could not be used. This will destroy some beautiful historic features and reduce the amount of recreational land available," he added.
Environment Agency project leader John Hindle maintained that the original defences no were longer suitable for modern standards. "We have tried our best to minimise the impact but it is inevitable if you are putting in flood defences that there will be some impact.
"There are now 16,000 properties on the banks and we need to ensure that we don't become victims of the sort of devastating floods we have seen in recent times."
A Nottingham City Council representative said: "We will be improving the quality of the pitches so that they can be used into the future. There will certainly be no loss of facility."