As many of you will know; there are ongoing negotiations between Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, Basron and Sport England regarding the much needed compensation to be paid to the town via the ‘Section 106’ ruling for the loss of The Camrose facility.
Chairman Terry Brown & Vice Chairman Kevin White, on behalf of the club and supporters, are unwavered in their pursuit to ensure a second stadium remains in the town; not only for the clubs longer term aspirations but also to ensure the town does not lose a facility.
Vice Chairman Kevin White said recently ‘I feel almost embarrassed saying it as it’s so blindingly obvious that there is a desperate need to reestablish another ground in the town. I really cannot see a debate? Other towns have incorporated new office spaces into new facilities and it’s worked incredibly well. With a town our size, coupled with the plans in the councils Horizon 2050 document, I am in no doubt that it can be done here too.’
Chairman Terry Brown echoed this approach and believes that the true cost of a proper, long term facility is upward of £4m.
‘I have been in football a long time and a stadium is more than just a football pitch – and quite rightly so. They now incorporate retail space, office units, training pitches – the possibilities and potential are endless. So as you can imagine, with a town of our size, this could be something truly special. The plans the council has needs to look past just football and think about how it will best serve the community. Let’s not forget the positive impact football has on local communities, not just for those that are lucky enough to play the game, but the hundreds of children that come through the gates to watch and play our wonderful game, parents who are given the opportunity to share something with their kids, the elderly, our disabled community – it’s a huge existing network already, but it needs to be given the chance to flourish.’
He continues ‘If we use Avely FC as an example – they have a facility that was £4m-£5m to build. Melksham FC, who are in our league, together with the council they married together football and rugby and their new facility cost somewhere in the region of £7m. The same can be said for over at Dartford FC. Maybe looking at a home for the football club and the rugby club is a potential answer, we want sport in general to flourish in the town so the more we can work in partnership the better, but either way, something needs to be done, and quickly.’
Kevin White followed up by saying ‘this shouldn’t be seen as a cost, it should be seen as a long term investment in the infrastructure of the town. Done correctly, the return on investment could be significant, it can be funded in part or whole by Basron and Hampshire County Council and will help all aspects of the town in line with Horizon 2050. History will be watching this moment. Clubs, supporters and sport in general up and down the country will be looking at our story. A town likes ours that boasts about its plans for the future. It’s a great message, but the proof will be in the action taken.’