A FORMER chairman of Basingstoke Town Community Football Club has said it’s time to ‘move on’ and leave the ‘murky history’ of the Camrose behind.

As previously reported, permission has been granted for 85 dwellings and a 70-bedroom care home on the Camrose football stadium site after a government inspector approved the developer's appeals.

The community football club which occupied the site before it was thrown out by its former owner Rafi Razzak and his company Basron, had been fighting for the borough council’s development control committee refusal decision to be upheld. But yesterday (May 6) it was announced that the inspector has sided with the developer.

READ MORE: Permission granted for flats and care home on Camrose ground after inspector APPROVES developer appeals

Reacting to the news, former chairman of the community football club, Kevin White, said: “I am not entirely surprised. Personally, I think the council kicked the can down the road to the planning inspector so they would not be held responsible.”

When asked to expand, given that it was the council’s own development control committee who originally refused the applications, Kevin continued: “From the council point of view, it’s the lack of support they have got for sport in the town, not just football.

“The problem they are going to have now is blood on their hands for setting a precedent businessmen can basically do what they like and that money talks. This was a plot of land that was given in good faith by the Camrose family and was quietly bought on the side. There was plenty of time during that period when the council could have done something and they didn’t."

On Friday (May 6), leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Cllr Simon Bound, described the inspector's decision as "a tragedy for local democracy".

Commenting on the next steps for the club, Kevin added: “This will not be a popular opinion, but I actually think it’s a good thing that it’s now closed. The club could appeal at the High Court, but we are talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“I honestly believe it’s a good thing for the club long term. It means the club can move on. Now the club knows it’s not an option, they can look at what would be a suitable ground. While there is hope, you will always hark back. Raffi can’t take any of the memories away, but they are just that, memories.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Morally wrong’: Basingstoke Town chair says Camrose inspectorate decision is a ‘travesty’

Kevin said he would like to see the wider Basingstoke community backing the club going forwards, adding: “It’s a fantastic club, it’s got fantastic people in it. All the murky history that’s got Raffi Razzak in it, forget that.

“I got involved because I thought the club was a sleeping giant, and that hasn’t changed. So let’s just move forward and hope people get behind the club so it can truly wake up and move up the leagues.”

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