Bosses at Bracknell Town FC are eager to sell the current stadium at Larges Lane to developers in a bid to fulfil their ambitious plans for the club.

In March, plans were unveiled to build 129 apartments on the current pitch.

The apartments would be divided into three blocks, comprising of 17 one-bedroom flats, 94 two-bedroom flats, and 15 three-bedroom flats.

The proposal provides 167 parking spaces and 278 secure bicycle spaces.

But the plan begs the question: where would Bracknell Town FC end up playing their matches?

The football club is in the process taking up a ground share opportunity and moving the first team to Bottom Meadow, the home of Sandhurst Town FC in time for the 21/22 season. Bottom Meadow is currently undergoing a £2.2m refurbishment, which Sandhurst Town are hoping to finish by July 2021 at the earliest.

READ MORE: Plans for 126 homes at Bracknell Town FC's Larges Lane

While Bracknell and Sandhurst will share the ground, the two clubs will retain their separate identities. Sandhurst Town FC currently have a ground sharing arrangement with Bracknell Town FC while Bottom Meadow undergoes development.

Fears have been raised that Bracknell Town FC are giving up on Bracknell for good, but the club says it is not the case. The club will remain in Bracknell at a separate location in Larges Lane.

The new location has four training pitches for players aged 12 and upwards.

In the summer, a ground floor pavilion will be built, which will feature male and female changing rooms, a gym, a dining room, meeting spaces and dedicated classrooms. The club has provided a video of the site.

Bracknell News:

The plans for the future of Bracknell Town FC is the joint vision of its millionaire owner, Kayne Steinborn-Busse and Stephen Shortland.

Bracknell Town Football club is owned by Mr Steinborn-Busse through his company The SB Group, while Stephen Shortland serves as The SB Group’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Shortland has a record of elite sport education, having worked at Millfield School in Somerset from 1988 to 2008, and Wellington College in Crowthorne from 2008 to 2020. He has also served as the Head Coach for the England under 16s Rugby from 2013 to 2019.

READ MORE: Bracknell Town able to apply for £5k community project grant

Mr Steinborn-Busse said: “Our model is built around youth. 55 per cent of Bracknell Town FC are under 21. 90 per cent of Sandhurst Town FC is under 21.” However Mr Shortland said: “The 1st team is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The SB Group provides educational opportunities with its ‘Sports and Education Academy’, for students aged 16+.

Domestic students can take A-Level, BTEC and NCFE courses while being a part of the club. Meanwhile, international students can choose to have a gap year or full time education, staying at the club’s boarding buildings in Robins Gate. Mr Shortland said the SB Academy has students from Botswana, Canada, the USA, Belgium and Holland in its ranks.

The club’s educational classes are assisted by teachers at Ranelagh SchoolBracknell and Wokingham College and the UK Sports Academy.

Mr Steinborn-Busse explained: “A career in sport is very very short term, and it can be even shorter with injury. We want to catapult people forward in life. And they can do that by getting their BTECs, A Levels and other qualifications. Education is the cornerstone of what we are about.”

At the moment, classes are held in rooms at BTFC’s Larges Lane stadium. The duo argued that the current ground is not fit-for purpose to fulfill their ambitions. They pointed out the current ground only has one toilet for women and no disabled access. Mr Steinborn-Busse said: “It’s reached the end of its shelf-life.”

Bracknell News:

Mr Shortland was clear that the sale of the ground at Larges Lane is crucial to the club’s future: “We need that sale.”

When pressed on how fans would react to having to go to Sandhurst for matches, Mr Shortland said the club will run shuttle buses to the stadium for games, in the same way he used to use shuttle buses to get to London Irish games at the Madejski Stadium (London Irish Rugby moved grounds to the Brentford Community Stadium in the 2020-21 season).

The plan for the 129 apartments has been submitted by Mr Steinborne-Busse, who will then sell that planning permission to a developer.

You can view the plan for the three apartment blocks entering  reference 21/00250/OUT to Bracknell Forest Council’s planning portal https://planapp.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/online-applications/.

The club has already received permission for the redevelopment of its new stadium in Bottom Meadow, Sandhurst. You can observe the plans by typing in reference 19/01085/FUL into the planning portal. Additionally, a plan to demolish a garage and make extensions to Sandhurst Town FC’s clubhouse were submitted last week (ref: 21/00265/FUL).