IT IS just over a year since the historic night that two planning applications that would have seen Basingstoke’s football ground ripped apart and transformed into a housing estate were unanimously refused.

Basingstoke Town FC’s former owner Rafi Razzak and his company Basron spent the best part of two and a half years refining the application to turn the Camrose ground into an 85-bed housing estate and a care home, an application which town planners had recommended councillors approve.

But after a dramatic debate late into the night of September 23, both applications were rejected on the grounds that the development did not meet the council’s CN8 policy - that the loss of the Camrose stadium outweighed the benefits of the development.

Additionally, concerns were raised of overdevelopment of the area and that the proposed mitigation of improvements to Winklebury were not good enough.

The following week, The Gazette ran with the headline ‘Town 2, Basron Nil’, applauding councillors for standing up for residents and football fans.

The decision was a surprise to the now interim chairman of the club, Jack Miller, who spoke at the meeting as a fan.

He told The Gazette this week: "I felt it was going to go through the motions and go through. I wasn't optimistic.

"It seemed to be going that way. It looked like things were already a done deal."

Jack added that he believes that fateful night was the turning point of the Camrose scandal.

"It was good that people on the council were starting to talk up the football club," he continued. "There are councillors whose voices are getting louder."

Plans were first put forward to transform the stadium into a housing estate in 2019, shortly after the club was kicked out by Mr Razzak, who owns the land.

But in 2018, Basron wanted to build 90 homes on the ground, as well as a hotel and a drive-thru restaurant.

In February 2020, The Gazette exclusively revealed the presence of a covenant on the ground stating that it should remain a football stadium until 2053.

But the threat of redevelopment still hangs over the Camrose stadium today - Basron have appealed the council’s decision and a planning inspector will decide its future at a hearing. A date is yet to be set for this hearing.

Since the planning permission was refused, BTFC have successfully applied for the stadium to be listed as an asset of community value - although Mr Razzak will take the council to a tribunal on this.