A HISTORIC document protecting Basingstoke Town Football Club’s ground from being built on has been unearthed by the Gazette.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has previously told the public the Camrose covenant, which expires in 2053, was missing or was lost.

It was put in place to stop the Winchester Road site from being redeveloped and was signed by Lord Camrose in 1953.

The paperwork was long rumoured to have been missing with the public told at a meeting in 2017 it had gone awry.

However the Gazette has obtained a copy of the original document, signed in 1953, which states the Camrose must remain as a sports ground.

In the document, signed in 1953 by Lord William Berry, Viscount Camrose, it states:

  • No buildings or erection shall be planned or allowed on the land which is a Football or Sports Ground.
  • Not to erect or permit to be erected on the said land any buildings with out the written consent of the lessors and the tennants can only erect building connected with purpose already mentioned above.
  • Not to carry on or permit to be carried on any trade or business upon the said land only to use or allow to permit the same to be used in a proper and orderly manner as a Football or Sports Ground which is purpose of this lease
  • Not to do or permit any act or thing which causes or may grow to cause annoyance inconvenience nuisance of any neighbouring property.
  • Driving cattle, sheep and other animals cannot be done on the land which is marked out as a football pitch.

This raises questions about why Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's officer told the councillors and the public in 2017 that the authority's legal team "couldn't find" the document. 

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been contacted for comment. 

The agreement between Lord Camrose and the then owners of Basingstoke Town Football Club says that the land, “laid out for the playing of football”, must be a “football or sports ground” throughout the period of the covenant, with “no buildings or erection ... placed or allowed to remain on the land.”

It continues to say that no business should be allowed on the land other than a football ground.

This will raise questions about whether the current owner Rafi Razzak is right to build on the land.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Kevin White, the director of Basingstoke Town Football Club, said he was ‘shocked’ and questioned what this means for the team’s future. They were evicted from the grounds in August 2019 and are currently playing their matches in Winchester while the Camrose stands empty.

Following the news, the club issued a statement on Thursday afternoon (February 6).

It reads: "We’ve been made aware of today’s front page news by our friends at the Basingstoke Gazette regarding the unearthing of the Camrose Covenant.

"We will be working closely with the Gazette and a legal team over the coming days to determine our next steps and the implications this has on the future of our club.

"We will of course be making further comment as this develops.

"The news does, however, highlight the dire struggles and frustrations the club has been facing at the hands of others as we try to move forward as a community club. We welcome the attention that our club is rightfully receiving and together we will ensure that no stone is left unturned in ensuring a successful and sustainable future.

"Our squad remain focussed on another important fixture at ‘home’ on Saturday. This is the time to truly get behind your team and your club.

"We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated with our progress."

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