THE path has been cleared for a development to take place which could see Fratton Park turned into a 21st century stadium.
Three key stumbling blocks to a proposal to see a Tesco superstore built on land next to the stadium have been removed by Portsmouth City Council.
The football club says the deal will release funds which will mean investment can be made to redevelop the stadium.
But, as reported previously in The News, residents and other retailers say having a Tesco there will harm the livelihood of shops in the Fratton and Milton areas, and cause increased congestion.
Yesterday, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet members voted to sell a parcel of land off Anson Road to Point Estates LLP, which is owned by developer Stuart Robinson.
Point Estates leases the land, and will become the freeholder for an undisclosed sum.
The lease on a second parcel of land off Anson Road, currently leased by Point Estates, will be transferred to Portsmouth Community Football Club Ltd and, subject to planning permission being granted will be turned into a 250-space car park.
Thirdly, the council’s cabinet, chaired by council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, voted to remove a restriction banning shops from being built on the land.
Crucially, this lifts one of the largest obstacles to the Tesco development taking place.
Colin Farmery, spokesman for Portsmouth Football Club, said: ‘This is clearly good news.
‘We recognise there is still a significant way to go before these plans are approved, but the fact that this restriction has been lifted makes the path a lot clearer to get there, and as a result the football club will benefit from a significant cash investment.
‘This deal will ensure that the club has a far greater chance of redeveloping Fratton Park in the long term – which is the ultimate goal of the club.
‘This won’t be a straightforward process, and there’s going to have to be some major investment, but if this deal goes through the football club will be in as good a position as it’s ever been to make something happen to create a football ground we can all be proud of.’
A spokesman for Tesco said a planning proposal will be submitted soon.