TO BUILD or not to build? That is the decision facing Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council regarding the proposed new football stadium in the town.

After much debate over the plans to build a new 5,000 capacity stadium on green space on the Old Common, the council’s Cabinet will decide next week whether to go ahead as planned or scrap the idea completely.

At the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday, members will have three proposals put before them: to progress with the plans at the Old Common site; continue to review other potential sites; or advise Basingstoke Town FC that there is no available or appropriate land for relocation.

As previously reported, the Old Common site is an unpopular choice with many residents, but is the borough council’s preferred choice to be developed.

In the council’s report its states that more than 200 people objected to plans to build the stadium on the Old Common. 

The report said: “In some form, every response made mention of the importance of the open space either to the town as a whole or on an individual basis as a valuable place to play and relax.

“Many responses made mention of the historic importance of the site and that it had been available as a public amenity for many years.”

If the borough council decides against plans to build a new £10m stadium on the Old Common, the report says there is no suitable alternative site. 

Officials at Basingstoke Town FC have been working closely with the borough council for over 10 years to come up with a suitable and viable plan which met the council’s demands.

Club CEO David Knight said: “We believe we have done everything the council has asked of us and we have co-operated fully with them. 
“We believe this will be a move forward for the town and it will be a great asset.

“The stadium isn’t just for the football club, we hope it will act as a focal point for the town along with Festival Place and the proposed new Leisure Park.” 

If the Cabinet agree to go ahead with the development on the Old Common, the club’s Camrose stadium will be developed into a 12,000m² retail park, which would part-pay for the construction of the new ground.

Eastrop ward councillor Gavin James – who has been campaigning against the proposed plans – said the people of Basingstoke do not want another retail park, and want to preserve green spaces.

He added: “Green open space in the borough is precious and it is our duty to preserve them.

“The new stadium would be no different than what the club already has, just a new version and new things don’t stay new for long. 

“It is up to the council and the FA to help the club find a suitable site to help them expand.”