BASINGSTOKE Town Football Club's former chief is planning on turning part of the dug-up pitch at the Camrose into a memorial for the club's new stadium.

Rafi Razzak, whose company Basron is currently awaiting planning permission to turn the site into a housing estate, told the Gazette that he will use some of the turf he ripped from the pitch in January to create a memorial to the club's historic stadium and Lord Camrose, who gifted the ground to the club around 70 years ago.

It will be placed at the Winklebury Football Complex, where the club is planning on playing their home games next season.

The news came as a surprise to the club's vice chairman, Kevin White, who said a better way of commemorating Lord Camrose would be to not tear down "his final gift to the community".

Basingstoke Gazette:

It comes after Mr Razzak kicked the club out of their stadium, where they have been playing since the 1950s, last year, forcing them to instead seek refuse at Winchester City's ground.

Now, works are underway to bring Hampshire FA's base up to the standard required for the club to play in, with it being hoped that this will mean they can start playing there at the end of September.

As previously reported, there were emotional scenes as diggers moved into the historic pitch earlier this year, guaranteed by former owner Lord Camrose to be used as a sports stadium until 2052. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council were investigating an alleged breach of planning conditions, but have said that as no development has taken place, there was no breach.

However, after Basron bought the freehold to the ground, he has planned to turn the site into a housing estate.

Mr Razzak said at the time that he was simply reseeding the grass, which sparked ridicule from the club's supporters.

He told the Gazette that he was "never worried" about the council's investigation, adding: "I am not an expert in understanding all these planning applications.

"I have appointed Basron [to do that].

"My approach is something to leave a legacy for the club."

Basingstoke Gazette:

In addition to making a monument, he will also pledged that the money he sold the turf for will go back to football.

Kevin White, the club's current vice chairman, said that he had no knowledge of the plan.

"That is the first I have ever heard of it," he told the Gazette.

"I am not sure what the monument would be.

"If he spends much on the monument at Winklebury, there shouldn't be any issues with him putting a significant amount of money to the improvements in needs.

"I could think of better ways to commemorate the legacy of Lord Camrose, by not tearing down his final gift to the community would be a start."