RAFI Razzak remains confident that Basingstoke Town will begin the 2014-15 season in a new stadium.
The £10million project to relocate the club to a purpose-built 5,000-capacity stadium on land to the west of the Hilton Basingstoke Hotel was unveiled a year ago this week.
The club have spent much of this year negotiating with Basingstoke and Deane Council, who own the area earmarked for the new stadium, as well as some land at the Camrose. This has taken longer than Razzak expected but he says that the two parties came to an agreement last week.
The Town chairman said: “I hope that this is a major step forward. “There was a substantial amount to negotiate and to have reached an agreement is fantastic.
“We are very pleased with the outcome. We have been very patient and it has taken longer than I thought it would – but that is the process we have to go through.
“We are now moving to the next phase, which is more the legal part of the agreement. That should be pretty straightforward and we hope to go on to the planning stage in the new year.”
The original timeframe for the project was for the new stadium to be completed in March 2014, with the club moving in at the start of the 2014-15 season.
Razzak added: “I still believe we can have the club in a new stadium in time for the start of the 2014-15 season. “We can get everything done in line with the original timescale.”
Tim Boschi, head of community services at the borough, told The Gazette that negotiations over the land are at an advanced stage but stressed that the any agreement would not prejudice the planning process.
Should planning permission be granted, the new ground would have an initial capacity of 5,000, with 500 seats, and the potential to expand to present League One standards if required.
The building of the new stadium would be funded from the development of the club’s current Camrose ground. Razzak has been able to obtain a legal option to buy the land, most of which is currently leased from the Camrose Estate, and it would be turned into a retail park, with the potential to create 300 jobs.