FOOTBALL fans in Basingstoke have celebrated councillors’ decision this week to reject proposed development on the historic Camrose ground, but the community club’s vice chairman admits he’s concerned about possible appeal.

Kevin White told The Gazette that the unanimous vote to throw out Basron’s applications for a care home and block of flats on the site was welcome news for all who support the sport.

“It is fantastic. The council have looked at the applications objectively and rejected them for the right reasons,” he said.

“It shows that people care. It shows, I’d like to think, that the council are behind the club and some of the issues that we have faced.”

But Mr White acknowledges that, while the vote was a good start, the issue is far from over.

“It is a battle won, but the war still goes on,” he said.

“I think at the moment we are focussing on the win, but an appeal does concern me because it will drag everything out even longer. Anything could happen in that time, but it is concerning because planning permission could still be granted and Basron might not be held properly accountable.

“Getting back to the Camrose would be ideal, but if not maybe we can start a discussion about a longer term alternative, which should really be funded - in part or full - by Basron.

“It will be based on planning issues rather than emotive issues for the club, but even if planning permission is granted I hope Basron is properly held liable. I hope that the council and Sport England continue to work on the Section 106 money.

“It sets a dangerous precedent, quite frankly, throughout sport. Today it is a football club, next year it could be a community centre, you just don’t know.”

Mr White says the overwhelming support from the community has been brilliant to see.

“[The meeting] was live streamed and if you look at the amount of people making comments and the social media reach that it has, it shows the support for the football club and what we are doing. Hopefully, that will push forward to even better things.

“We are about to get into Winklebury to play football, so I hope with this swell of support, people come and see what they are supporting.”

When The Gazette announced the committee’s decision, supporters took to social media to voice their celebrations.

Tom Farry commented on Facebook: “Great news. The correct decision.”

Karl Stewart said: “Yeeeeeees! Brilliant news.”

While Jack Miller added: “A great step towards moral victory. Keep the blue flag flying high!”