Plans to demolish Bracknell Town FC’s former ground to build new flats have finally been given the green light by the council. 

An amended proposal went before the planning committee on Thursday evening, having been initially rejected in March after concerns, in part, relating to parking provisions and the consequential loss of a stadium.  

The original plan would have seen the current dwelling and sports building on Larges Lane demolished and replaced by 126 apartments and 167 parking spaces. However, the club’s chairman lowered the number of dwellings to 117 – therefore increasing the parking ratio – and engaged with local residents to alleviate their concerns. 

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The chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse, was delighted by the decision – describing the relief as ‘immense’.

“It was a very stressful hour in the chambers on Thursday night, but it went the right way. They recognised that we had listened to them in March and we had made the recommended changes,” he said. 

The club has been working towards the plan for the past few years, through the development of a new stadium and by growing its academy. 

Steinborn-Busse explained: “We started the planning for this project in 2018, we started to mobilize to build in 2019 and we financially committed to the three new sites in late 2019.  

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“I had been trying to articulate why it would have been so bad for Bracknell [if the plan was refused]. We have had a two-and-a-half-year delay, we spent £6m. Further delays, we just couldn’t stomach that. 

“To keep this project on track, we have had to contend with covid, we had a hell of a time trying to get materials, our build costs went up and then the decision got stretched out to two and a half years. Every part of this project has been tough.” 

The club won the Isthmian League South-Central Division title this season so will be moving up the non-league pyramid in August, likely to the Southern League’s Premier South Division. The chairman explained why this planning decision is so important both for now and for the future. 

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“We can finish the stadium site, the campus on Larges Lane and really start to build upon our academy, by increasing our numbers and bringing in more players from overseas to learn within our private school.  

“Next season, for the first time in Bracknell’s history, our fixtures on a Saturday will appear on Sky Sports News. We can build on this now. 

“We want to be at the same level as Maidenhead, a step one football club. We are now two promotions away from that. 

“[My] vision is to have Bracknell Town FC in the national league. You could easily be watching [them] on BT Sports in a couple of years’ time.”