Further Progress on Securing the Club’s Survival: Planning Permission
We learned that as of last Friday we have secured planning permission from the Planning Officer at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council for ground enhancements at Winklebury consistent with FA standard grade C. This level is regarded as equivalent to the Camrose when Mr Razzak /Basron evicted us.
As usual planning approval is given subject to a number of standard conditions which can be readily satisfied. It is valid for 3 years.
A Huge Step Forward
This is huge news for us as it’s another obstacle removed to secure our future as a football club. Winklebury represents the best immediate solution for survival, avoiding a financially unsustainable ground share out of the borough for the whole of next season. In the light of a recent Council initiative it could be the Council investing in Winklebury for the benefit of football at all levels which would support an early move to get back in the Town.
What happens next ?
What happens next depends upon two separate things.
First, starting with the Camrose, when and how Basron’s applications for redevelopment of the Camrose are determined. No date has been fixed for the Council’s Development Control Committee to decide the applications. We understand it would be April at the earliest.
To satisfy Sport England’s objections to the loss of the Camrose as a sporting amenity, Basron would be expected to enter a section 106 agreement to provide ‘like for like’ replacement to get planning approval. The expectation of those involved in the planning process is – we understand – that Basron would have to first deliver the ‘like for like’. Unless this is done, no redevelopment could commence. We recognise what constitutes ‘like for like ‘ could prove controversial but it is unfortunately outside of our control. It could take a long time to resolve and even longer to unlock funds – by which time the club would be dead. That’s why we need a contingency.
Secondly, following our meeting with councillors last week, we know that the Council and Hampshire FA are discussing possible ways with council funding to improve facilities for all levels of football at Winklebury. Our belief is that such council investment can not only bring great benefit to local football and the wider community but also assist our opportunity to play back in the borough without compromise to other initiatives.