THE council has responded to calls for support from ‘Save the Camrose’ campaigners, saying it plans to help the club to become “financially sustainable in the future”.

As previously reported by the Gazette, on Saturday (July 24), supporters of the ‘Save the Camrose’ campaign gathered in protest outside the Camrose ground on Saturday, calling on Basingstoke council to act now to ensure the site’s future as home of the town’s football club.

More than 80 people attended the event, organised by fans including ex-players Adrian Donnelly and Steve Frangou, where they heard about other sites where council ownership and development of a community sports hub and football ground had taken place.

Outlining fans’ desire for the council to not only block majority-owners Basron from developing on the site, but also buy them out and build a new ground for the town, Steve said: “The council is one of the richest councils in the country. I would like to see more people keeping the pressure on councillors that this is imperative, that the ground comes back.

“They have the ability to stop this from happening and become sort of a Lord Camrose, develop that ground and give it back to the town.”

In response, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and leisure, Cllr Rebecca Bean, outlined the support the council plans to give - saying it is “not aware” of any plans from Basron to sell its share of the site.

She said: “We worked closely with the club to ensure its return to Basingstoke, with investment in football facilities at Winklebury Football Complex benefiting the club and others in the borough.

“The strip of land that the council owns is outside of the private land ownership that forms the majority of the Camrose. The privately-owned land has two outstanding planning appeals, against our refusal of planning permission, that are yet to be decided. We are not aware of the owner proposing to sell the land. The owner has also appealed against our designation of the site as an asset of community value.

“We are working with the club to understand how it plans to be financially sustainable in the future, wherever it is located, and how we can support its aspirations in the way we do other sports clubs across the borough.”