THE leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has called on Basingstoke Town FC to share their “ambition” about the future and the next steps for the club.

As previously reported permission was granted for 85 dwellings and a care home to be built on the Camrose football stadium site, after a government inspector approved the developer's appeals.

Basingstoke Town 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 the inspector has sided with the developer.

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In a council meeting last night (May 19) the leader of the council Cllr Simon Bound came under fire as he was questioned about how the council will take a "more active role" to help the club.

Cllr Andrew McCormick said: “Given the successful planning appeal decision published immediately after local elections on building on the Camrose ground what will the council do to help Basingstoke Town Community FC realise its ambitions for the future?”

In response, Cllr Simon Bound said he would like to hear from the club.

He added: “I believe the biggest thing that we can do as a council is assist the club to hear what the planning inspectorate has identified. When I read the decision some things are very clear to me and I hope to the club.

“What the planning inspectorate has written is a defining document for the history of this town and the history of Basingstoke Town Community Football Club. I invite the club to build and share with the town their ambitions and their business plan.”

Cllr McCormick asked whether the council will take a more active role in helping “like other councils have”.

He added: “The public perception is that the council really could not care less about Basingstoke FC.”

Despite this Cllr Bound said the council was “key to getting the club back playing in the town”.

He said: “When the previous president phoned me to say 'Simon you need to intervene', the football club has been thrown out of the Camrose, they were about to have absolutely no legal interest in the Camrose and they were desperate to be able to play in the town that they loved.”

He said the council has not entered into a discussion about the portion of the Camrose that it owns.

He added: "The owner of the freehold has excluded us because we will not discuss being part of that with them."

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Cllr Paul Harvey asked what the council is planning to do with the land.

He said: “In light of the appeal decision on the football ground this council has a 29 per cent land interest in the Camrose and given that result the risks associated with that which is our land in trust for the public and I would like to know what this council will do with this land.

"In my view that is a huge stake in what happens to that land going forward. I think the public have a right to know because it is their land, what this council will do with this 29 per cent."

Cllr Harvey said that the portion of land is said to be valued at £10,000, but said that he believes it is worth much more.

Cllr Bound said: "We need to be very clear that that piece of land is still subject to a lease, I'm sure that has an impact on the value. I'm not sure the risk of that has changed."

Cllr Bound promised to provide a written response to answer the question, which he said will “be made public”.

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