POMPEY are to consult residents over controversial plans to enclose public playing fields in order to make way for its new training ground.
The club are tomorrow holding a meeting at The Pompey Study Centre for those wary about proposals to build 3m-high fences with 5m nets above them around two pitches near Roko Health Club, in Copnor.
I am not encouraged by this, because at the end of the day, they are still trying to take over land that is open to all the public.Copnor Road resident Jackie Hill
The scheme has sparked fury as the club is seeking to bar access to residents – who have gone there to play sport and walk for decades.
Pompey will use the meeting, which starts at 7pm, to talk about how they want to ensure the site includes community use and how they support young people in the city.
The floor will also be open for questions.
Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee was origianlly due to make a formal decision over whether the plans should be given the green light on Wednesday.
But councillors have been sent an email saying the club wants to defer the application to allow time to consult.
Copnor Road resident Jackie Hill, who is opposed to the plans, said: ‘I am not encouraged by this, because at the end of the day, they are still trying to take over land that is open to all the public.
‘If you don’t have an interest in football, you will lose out.
‘The club have got enough land as it is, why do they need more?
‘This will only be for a select few people, rather than for the residents of the area.’
Pompey’s chief executive Mark Catlin has already said the area is in a poor state and the club will be spending huge amounts of money bringing it up to scratch. The plans went before the council in February, but it was decided issues over whether the general public would still be allowed access needed cleared up.
But it has been decided planning permission can be given regardless and site access is a separate issue and a decision over that can be taken at a later date.
Council officers have recommended conditional permission be given.
Despite this, 29 local residents have submitted complaints saying the fencing will cause a loss in open space.
A Pompey spokesman was yesterday unavailable for comment.