A LEADING borough councillor has called for Basingstoke Town Football Club to rethink its intended location for a new stadium.
Eastrop councillor Gavin James has urged the Dragons to look at relocating to Basingstoke Leisure Park, instead of the club’s preferred site off Old Common Road, in Black Dam – a site that is in Cllr James’ ward.
The calls follow last year’s announcement by club chairman Rafi Razzak of an ambitious £10million plan to move from The Camrose to a new 5,000-capacity stadium on land west of the Hilton Basingstoke hotel.
In March this year, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council ’s decision-making Cabinet endorsed the club’s plans, despite fierce objections from Eastrop ward members, including Cllr James, and residents that moving to the site would cause parking misery for people living nearby, as well as use up vital town centre green space.
At the borough’s community well-being overview and scrutiny committee, Cllr James renewed calls for a rethink by the club, arguing the new stadium should be part of plans to revamp the ageing leisure park.
“The Old Common site is a green open space, and to me it is not a suitable site,” Cllr James told The Gazette . “It has not got the capacity to expand in the future, and for big cup matches it would not be useable.
“We have a site available in the leisure park. I think it would be a win-win situation and needs to be looked at for the leisure park, the town, and the club. “We can make the leisure park a real day out with swimming in the morning, football in the afternoon, and the cinema in the evening. Families can stay all day without leaving the park.”