Basingstoke Town's acting chairman says returning to the Camrose would be an 'uphill battle' as he lays out his future vision for the club. 

Kevin White, who took interim charge after Terry Brown resigned last month, says that the club will not desert its temporary home in Winklebury if a like-for-like replacement to the Camrose is sought.

Mr White said that he would "love" to see the club play at the Camrose again, but admitted that it would be an "uphill battle".

It comes after councillors unanimously rejected Basron's proposals to build 85 apartments and a 70-bed care home on the pitch, whilst plans to build a link road through the site were dropped earlier this month.

"Our priority over the past 12 months has been to get us back to the town and in a better place financially," Mr White continued.

"Returning to the town has allowed us to do that which means the 125 year history of the club is preserved and we can support the current and next generation of supporters make the next 125 years of memories.

"The next phase is getting support for a true like for like stadium. I want our club to achieve league football status and to do that sustainably as part of a true Community Club.

"To do that we need the support of the local council and the local people of the town.

"To enable us to do that we need to make the club a force for good and a hub of the community – to provide a club the town can be proud of.

"I would love to return to the Camrose, it is where my earliest football memories are from, but we must not ignore the size of that uphill battle to get back there.

"Firstly, money would need to be raised to finance it. Basron would have to be willing to sell to us and that’s before you look at the work that would need to be done to regenerate the ground.

"We do have some people looking into that at the moment – so we are working on it.

"However, if we are unable to return to the Camrose, then there needs to be a true second stadium.

"This is not just for our football club, but this is for the community of Basingstoke. A community hub that can serve local schools, local community groups – its so much bigger than a sporting facility. It should be the catalyst for great things within the town."

Fans have called for a like-for-like replacement to the historic football ground after they were kicked out of it by landowners Basron, who earmarked it for redevelopment.

This led to the Gazette campaigning for the town to retain its two stadiums, whether that be the Camrose in addition to Winklebury, or a replacement.

But even if the club do get their wish and are able to move their men's first team to a larger stadium than Winklebury Sports Complex, Mr White has said that the area is an "important cog" in the club's plans.

Revealing that Winklebury residents he spoke to were concerned the area was just a short-term option, he said: "I completely understand that people may see it that way, however we have some huge plans for the club and they absolutely involve Winklebury.

"We need to expand our youth teams and engage more with other local teams, we need to grow our women’s section plus a women's academy and that’s before we even look at our community plans such as a walking football league, disabled and blind football and other initiatives.

“Do I think Winklebury can sustain our men's first team when we start moving through the leagues? No I don’t.

"But we are more than just a first team and Winklebury is an important cog in the long term future of the club and somewhere to build the next phase of the clubs future from, it is massively exciting times to be a Basingstoke Town fan.

"Those fears of local Winklebury residents are a reminder to us all what an important part this club plays in the town – the fear of it leaving has created anxiety. It just goes to show what this club means to its local residents."