The council is failing to deliver on one of its key priorities, according to a senior opposition councillor.

Andy McCormick, leader of the opposition Labour group, said that the authority's response to a number of sporting crises has been "pathetic".

It comes after a debate on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's annual governance statement, which identifies its key priorities.

One of these is: "Strengthening communities by developing high quality services; supporting local communities, providing outstanding leisure, sport and culture; improving health and wellbeing and being accessible and inclusive."

But Cllr McCormick said in a meeting earlier this week that "there are several groups of people who would have issues" saying that the council had met this priority.

He told the audit and accounts meeting: "Some of the things that have happened recently, members of the public won't be able to square providing outstanding leisure, sport and culture with cutting the Anvil Trust grants by 50 per cent, or the lack of progress we have had with the ice rink over the last three years, or indeed the lack of progress with the football club."

Cllr McCormick told The Gazette that the council has been "throwing up roadblocks" and "looking for reasons to fail rather than being supportive" when responding to the Camrose saga and the problems facing the football club.

He added: "Several other councils have bene much more supportive and in some cases even own 100 per cent of the grounds."

The Labour leader said the authority had "nothing to show" in terms of supporting renovations to the ice rink, nearly three years on from when the ice rink users' forum raised its condition.

And on cuts to Anvil Arts, the charity which runs the town's theatres, he added: "The Haymarket and Anvil were forced to merge under this administration years ago.

"The administration does not have a clue about how to manage the gems it has in theatre provision.

"An independent Haymarket may well have flourished and we'd have a more vibrant Top of Town as a result."

At the AAC meeting, Cllr McCormick called for public feedback to be taken into consideration to a higher degree when preparing the statement and whether the council is meeting it.

But Sue Cuerden, the council's executive director of corporate services, said something like that would require "further discussion".

"We have a performance monitoring framework already and there is ample opportunity for members to feedback into that on behalf of members of their wards," she responded.

"We had the residents survey so we do periodically do residents surveys to see how they feel about the services we are providing.

"I don't think that is linked to having an appropriate framework in place."

Speaking last week, council leader Ken Rhatigan defended his authority's record on the Camrose and ice rink sagas.

Cllr Rhatigan said: “Having worked alongside the football club and other partners to upgrade the Winklebury facility and return the football club to playing in the borough, the council is continuing to work with them to understand their plans for a sustainable future.

“We are using every means possible to press Standard Securities and Planet Ice to carry out the repairs that they are responsible for under the ice rink lease.

“The ice rink and the Camrose ground are privately-owned sports facilities.”