AFTER YEARS of uncertainty, councillors last night decided to throw out two planning applications on the historic Camrose ground.

Former club chairman Rafi Razzak and his company Basron wanted to turn the football stadium and adjacent car park into a 70-bed care home and 85 flats - but the proposals were thrown out after councillors agreed that they were in contravention of local planning policy.

In highly emotional and lengthy discussions, members eventually unanimously decided to throw out the plans.

But what happens next? Well the decision certainly did not end the debate over the future of the Camrose stadium.

A Razzak appeal?

The first way this can go is that Mr Razzak and Basron decide to appeal against the decision made by councillors on Wednesday night.

Any applicant has the right to appeal if they are not satisfied with the decision that they make.

Basron have six months to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, and generally they take around 24 weeks to decide if it is a written report.

Basron would also be able to appeal the decision of the Planning Inspectorate in the High Court if they think there was a legal mistake.

If the decision goes against the council, they would likely have to pay costs.

However, whilst a majority of councillors backed the refusal for each application, it wasn't without concern.

Cllr Anne Court (Conservative) said when giving her decision: "Reluctantly I'll approve the refusal. I'm not sure how we'll get on in appeal."

And Malcolm McPhail, director of applicant Basron, referred to himself as "the forgotten man" in Wednesday night's committee meeting.

"As you can imagine we're somewhat disappointed," he said about the decision to refuse the first application.

Redevelopment still possible

The refusal of planning permission last night does not mean that redevelopment plans for the stadium are over. Plans could be revised and the application brought back before councillors, or new plans could be submitted from scratch.

The link road at risk

The Camrose plans are interesting and confusing all at the same time because there are three separate but intertwined applications spanning the jurisdiction of two separate councils.

The two refused last night, for the care home and the flats, were submitted by Basron to Basingstoke and Deane as local planning authority, whilst the third, the link road, was an application by Hampshire County Council to itself as local highways authority. It was granted back in the summer.

But in the planning permission wording is a clause that could now derail the whole scheme - and with it the Brighton Hill roundabout improvement works. It states: "The development hereby permitted shall not be commenced until a scheme detailing the replacement and compensatory playing field area, including associated ancillary provision for those facilities lost at the Camrose stadium site, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority."

Last night, one of the grounds for refusal that councillors at BDBC backed was that the section 106 mitigation was not suitable - that the facilities of the Camrose was not properly mitigated for. It seems unlikely that the link road will be able go ahead without the section 106 agreement in place, which would only come if BDBC grant planning permission.

The club will be back in Basingstoke

With final works taking place at Winklebury to bring it to grade D standard (unaffected by the planning application being rejected because they were funded by the council and the fans), Basingstoke Town should hopefully soon be back in Basingstoke playing football for the first time in almost 18 months.

With their first home game scheduled for the start of October, the club are hoping to be able to get the stadium finished in time and be able to start playing there.

Whether or not they will ever play at the Camrose is still uncertain - the stadium is still owned by Basron and even if that changed, there's an awful lot of work to do to make the site usable again.