FOOTBALL fans have expressed their “bitter disappointment” after it was revealed that Basingstoke FC will no longer fight the decision to build 85 dwellings and a 70-bedroom care home on the Camrose football stadium.

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 since sided with the developer.

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Last Friday (May 21)  the chairman of Basingstoke Town FC Jack Miller said the club will not fight the decision and won't be taking it to the High Court.

Since then, football fans, who were protesting to save the stadium, have been reacting to the news.

Steve Frangou, Basingstoke Town former player and youth coach, said: “It is bitterly disappointing the whole outcome, but I do understand why the club is not taking it to the High Court especially due to the costs that would come into effect. This is money that could be well spent on other projects.

“I am bitterly disappointed there is not going to be any national campaign.”

Meanwhile, David Graham, a member of the same campaign group, added: “My feeling is this is a very poor decision by the community club but not totally unsurprising.

“The decision not to endorse the case being taken to the High Court is not really in the best interests of the Basingstoke football community. However, the party which must move it on to the High Court is BDBC [Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council].”

A similar view was shared by David Partridge another member of the group who said it would have been “difficult” for the club to challenge but the council “should be appealing”.

He added: “This has been a sorry tale and mistakes have been made by many people but a way forward needs to be found.”

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Speaking about the appeal decision, fellow group member Adrian Donnelly said the “decision does not make any logical sense".

He added: “Having watched all of the inquiry, and all of the arguments on both sides, I felt that once the inspector visited both premises, it would be clear that ‘our’ Camrose was a football stadium, and Winklebury was a football pitch with very little facilities.

“I am in total shock at the decision, and how one man can have this power.”

Julie Partridge, said: "They do seem to have gone down with a whimper but to be honest there doesn’t seem much point in the community club taking the case to court as the appeal was against the council’s decision to reject the planning application, and they clearly wouldn’t have the support of the council who seem quite happy to throw in the towel and let Basron have their way."

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