We have secured two outline planning permissions for the redevelopment of The Camrose Football Stadium in Basingstoke for up to 95 dwellings and a 70 bed care home. The development will provide a high-quality market and affordable housing scheme in a Borough with shortfall in the five year land supply. The Stadium was listed as an Asset of Community Value so imperatively we also secured an alternative permanent home for Basingstoke Town Football Club following our involvement in successful planning applications to upgrade the Winklebury Football Complex, the home of the Hampshire FA headquarters.
Members of the Planning Committee unanimously overturned the officer’s recommendations for approval despite no objection from Sport England. Understandably the development was contentious, fuelled by emotion and nostalgia by a few due to the loss of The Camrose which had been the home of the football club for over 70 years. Nevertheless, the Planning Inspectorate, following a four day public inquiry, was convinced by the case advanced by Bell Cornwell and allowed the appeals.
There was no dispute that the tilted balance was engaged in this case due to the lack of a five year housing land supply. The onus was on those opposed to the development to show that any harm resulting from the appeal’s proposals would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, against a baseline position. Our evidence demonstrated that there was no realistic prospect of The Camrose being resurrected as a football stadium.
The Inspector’s outcome in this case did not identify any considerations which would indicate a decision other than allowing the appeal in accordance with the development plan. Extensive debate around a policy requirement included both qualitative and quantitative comparisons between The Camrose and the enhancements to be delivered at the Winklebury Football Complex and how they benefit the footballing community. All material considerations, including the existing condition and the viability of the stadium, found that significant economic and social benefits of the much needed housing held substantial weight in favour of the proposals. Not least because the proposal includes 40% affordable housing for the elderly and will bring back into use the large and sustainably located brownfield site.
The upgrades to the Winklebury complex will benefit the football club and the public by providing them with the permanent home they seek. The site allows the same level of competitive play whilst also providing greater public access to football facilities in the form of a replacement 11 v 11 grass pitch and two artificial grass pitches. The development also delivers a significant improvement to the townscape, replacing the unsightly Camrose Stadium which was the product of a number of ad hoc planning decisions over time. The new residential development will deliver a significant character improvement to the benefit of this important access into the town.
The development will also facilitate the provision of the A30 Southwest gateway scheme to Basingstoke by allowing the closure of the Western Avenue arm of the Brighton Hill roundabout. Subject to the County Council bidding for renewed Local Enterprise Partnership funding to implement it, the scheme will deliver a significant road capacity improvement.
For more information about this project, please contact Partner, Mike Cole.