THE COUNCIL has refused to consider four potential sites where a second football stadium could be built, the community club says.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have also been accused of "breaking the promise of a council motion" after a senior councillor said they have no ambition to purchase a site for the stadium.

And one committee member said that the council had allowed Rafi Razzak to “take over the club and run it into the ground”.

Steve Williams, a volunteer with the club, told a Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council committee meeting last night that the club had given the authority a list of four sites on land owned by either BDBC or Hampshire County Council where a stadium could be built.

However, he says that the council "refused" to review the potential locations.

As previously reported, the club were kicked out of their home at The Camrose stadium in July 2019. They were forced to play at Winchester last season, and are currently in the process of moving to the Hampshire FA complex at Winklebury.

But club officials and fans have said that the site cannot be developed to the standard that the Camrose used to be, and that a second, like-for-like stadium is needed as a replacement, should planning applications on The Camrose be approved.

Two of the four sites that Mr Williams and Basingstoke Town Football Club put forward to the council were owned by BDBC themselves - at Down Grange and Manydown - with the other two belonging to Hampshire County Council. They are alongside the A30 at Down Grange and at the former traveller site near M3 junction 7.

"We think it is prudent in terms of long term planning to undertake that and we welcome the council reviewing that position," Mr Williams said.

"The community club is very different from the club that Razzak ruled when the previous reviews were undertaken."

But Cllr Rebecca Bean, the portfolio holder with responsibility for borough development and improvement, ruled out purchasing any of the potential sites.

She said: "We will not be allocating multi millions of pounds to purchase a football facility now or in the short to medium term future. We are not a council with an ambition to run a football club or stadium."

Cllr Bean also said that the reason they declined to review the alternative sites put forward by the club was because of the live planning application currently on the Camrose, saying: "I think we absolutely at this point cannot be seen to be pre-determining the outcome of the planning application next week."

But frustrations were raised by Cllr Ian Tilbury, a fan of the club, who said that the Camrose scandal is a "problem that this council has created".

"We were working with them to build a new stadium on the common before we were chased off by the dog walkers," he told the meeting, referring to the plans to build a stadium near War Memorial Park before they were abandoned.

"We were going to make money from that. We own a third of [The Camrose] land and we've lost all the value because they're going to turn it into a road that we'll give away for free to access Mr Razzak's development.

"This is a problem that this council has created. We have allowed the landowner to take over the club and run it into the ground.

"The only reason the land is worth multi-millions of pounds is because we've allowed him to do it.

"We created this mess, we facilitated the attempts to move them off the site. We've ended up penniless and lost all our land value, and at the same time the club have lost their home."

Concerns were also raised about the ability for Winklebury to be upgraded to grade C - the level it needs to be to match The Camrose and the club's ambitions.

Grade C requires a capacity of 1,950, with the ability to be expanded to 3,000, and whilst the council says this is possible, Cllr Andy McCormick casted doubt on the proposal.

"I'm at a loss, can someone explain how we expect to get that number of people on the Winklebury site?," the Labour group leader said. "That seems far too much of what that site can accommodate and doesn't address the access issues.

"It sounds like someone stuck their finger in the air and said that it can. 3,000 people is a lot of people when you've only got 100 car parking spaces on the site."