A COMMITMENT to ensure there are two football stadiums in Basingstoke must be put in the updated local plan, a leading opposition councillor has said.

The Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan is currently under review by the borough council, and Cllr Andy McCormick, the Labour group leader, has called on the authority to ensure that two stadiums remain in the town.

He called it an "opportunity" to ensure the town's status quo remains after councillors rejected two planning applications to build on the historic Camrose stadium last month.

The Gazette revealed last week that redevelopment of the Camrose was being promoted by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the draft 'promoted sites' document - which is currently out for public consultation.

Now, Cllr McCormick has said that the council needs to include a commitment to two stadiums in the town and remove the Camrose from the list of promoted sites.

"Ultimately I would need to get agreement with local councillors in South Ham about the Camrose, but I do think that we need to have a commitment to two football stadiums in Basingstoke," he told The Gazette.

"I would prefer to see the Camrose not put in as development in the local plan.

"I am not very keen on the idea of Camrose being offered to developers unless we guarantee a similar standard stadium.

"It is more important that Basingstoke Town has a home than we build 90 flats on the Camrose.

"There is a big discussion to be had on the future of sports and entertainment in Basingstoke in the local plan."

The Camrose development will see up to 160 homes built on the site of the historic pitch.

At the end of September, plans for 85 apartments and a 70-bed care home were rejected, with councillors citing local planning policy violation as well as overdevelopment of the site.

Additionally, Cllr McCormick said that the decision to include the proposed 2,500 home garden village at Upper Swallick in the draft document was "sneaky".

"That is a really sneaky move and I think there will be pressure to take that out.

"It sets a precedent to develop south of the M3."

He added that the development will have an impact on his own ward, Brighton Hill, with one of the major access points being the junction of Brighton Way and Hatch Warren Way.