The Camrose stadium "has the potential to continue to provide community benefit in the future", the council has said.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has spoken out after it listed the historic ground as an asset of community value (ACV) last weekend.

It means the ground, gifted to the town's football club by philanthropist and newspaper proprietor Lord Camrose in the 1950s, will be afforded certain protections against being sold for the next five years.

In September, the council's planning team recommended councillors approve two applications on the ground, for flats and a care home.

But they were unanimously rejected by councillors, who said it was overdevelopment of the area and that the loss of the stadium had not been mitigated.

Now, the borough council has said that the stadium, which currently lies empty after Basingstoke Town FC were kicked out, can "continue to provide community benefit".

The authority's head of borough development and implementation, David Covill, said: "We have considered a request from Basingstoke Town Community Football Club to list The Camrose Stadium as an asset of community value.

"As part of our review, we have consulted with the ward councillors for South Ham, the football club and the leasehold and freehold owners of the land and assessed the application against criteria set out by the government in the Localism Act.

“Following this review, a decision has been taken to list The Camrose Stadium as an asset of community value as it is a sports facility which in recent years has provided opportunities for community participation and has the potential to continue to provide community benefit in the future.”

The listing of the Camrose as an ACV means that should Basron or BDBC, who between them own the ground, wish to sell it within the next five years, they must inform the council and the community club will be notified.

This gives the club six weeks to make a formal request to be treated as a potential bidder, and then a further six months to raise the funds to prepare a bid.

After that, Basron would be free to sell to any party at any price.

But former club chairman Rafi Razzak, director of Basron, has eight weeks to request that BDBC review the decision to grant ACV status to the ground.

As recently as September, a senior councillor said that the authority had "no ambition" to purchase the ground, following calls to do so from fans and the club.