Troubled Basingstoke Town are facing an end of the month race against time to meet FA ground grading regulations at their new proposed home.
The Dragons are hoping to move into the Hampshire FA’s HQ at Winklebury after being kicked out of their Camrose Stadium, pictured, last August.
At a meeting on Thursday night, councillors backed a motion for the council to do their “upmost” to bring the club back to the borough next season, which includes releasing £150,000 to bring the Winklebury facilities up to standards by the March 31 ground grading deadline – just under four weeks away.
“The improvements are for the benefit of everybody using the stadium, not specifically for us, and they wanted to emphasise that,” chairman Terry Brown told The NLP this week.
“If all the improvements are done in time to satisfy the Southern League and FA, we will be in there in the summer.
“We welcome the council upgrading their own facility. There is still a lot of detail to be sorted out with reference to the community club moving in and what it leaves the club with.”
It is thought this will be a short-term solution as it remains to be seen what will happen to the Camrose where Basingstoke have played since 1946.
Previous chairman Rafi Razzak, a local businessman and multi-millionaire, owns the ground along with property development company Basron.
They are awaiting planning permission on a scheme to build 88 flats, a care home and an additional apartment block on the site of the former car park, as well as the club house with Hampshire County Council also planning to build a link road through the site.
At last Thursday’s meeting, Cllr Rebecca Bean reminded council that a like-for-like, Grade C facility can be funded by Section 106 mitigation should the Camrose have planning permission granted, meaning Basron would fund a stadium on an alternative site.
“We absolutely understand that football is an important sport and people are passionate about wanting to keep football in the town,” Cllr Bean said.
“We must hold the developers to account, Basron, and ensure they provide the appropriate mitigation.”
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— Basingstoke Town FC (@Basingstoke_FC) March 1, 2020
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