PLANS to build a 24-hour Tesco superstore at Fratton Park will be put before councillors next week.
Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee is to decide on Wednesday whether the development should go ahead.
It’s estimated the store, earmarked to go behind the Fratton end, would create 300 new jobs and have an annual turnover of £55.71m.
But there’s been strong opposition, with nearly 4,000 people having signed two petitions against the scheme.
While fears have been raised that building the store could impact on Pompey’s expansion, the club says it wouldn’t be a hindrance and would not stop its plans for the stadium.
Pompey director Ashley Brown backs the plans and has previously spoken of their importance for the regeneration of ‘the club and the community’.
If planning permission is granted, Pompey would get money from store applicants Point Estates towards ground improvements.
The cash, believed to be in the millions, would help fund the rebuilding of the North Stand.
The club also aims to rebuild the East Stands and extend the Fratton end with a view to having a 30,000 capacity stadium in the long run.
Research carried out on behalf of applicants Point Estates Ltd shows that city superstores would potentially lose millions in sales.
But the nearby Asda store in Fratton is said to be ‘overtrading’ and wouldn’t be affected.
The council has found that the store could increase the risk of flooding in people’s homes if it uses the area’s sewage system without improvements being made.
A retail assessment carried out by Point Estates says independent traders would be ‘largely unaffected’ by the development given shoppers use them to ‘top up’ on groceries.
But Andrew Manning, of Portsmouth Fruit and Flower, in Eastney Road, disagreed and said they were worth much more to residents.
‘These people need to come along to the shops and talk to the people who come here, and then say whether or not we serve as a top-up function,’ he said. ‘Anyone can do statistics and make up a statement.
‘We wouldn’t have got 4,000 signatures against this development if we were just there to top up people’s shopping.’
The plans will be discussed at a meeting in Portsmouth Guildhall from 2pm. If approved by the committee, the proposal would be referred to communities secretary Eric Pickles to have the final say.
He has powers to provide guidance on the application given it relates to an out-of-town development of more than 5,000sq m.
Engineer identifies ways that traffic issues could be prevented
HIGHWAYS engineers have identified ways that traffic can be managed to accommodate the mix of traffic going to the Tesco store and Pompey on match days.
They propose the upgrading of signal controls at the junction of Velder Avenue and Milton Road and the refurbishment of signals at the Goldsmith Avenue/Priory Crescent junction.
They also propose the addition of on-road cycle lanes from Fratton Way to connect to existing ones to the west on Goldsmith Avenue.
It’s also suggested in a council report going before the committee scrutinising the plans that an off-road cycleway should be put across the front of the store to link with the toucan crossing to the south on Fratton Way.
The council would look to the applicant to fund these improvements. Objectors fear the store would exacerbate traffic congestion and ‘adversely impact’ on highway safety, particularly along Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton Way and Milton Road.