IMPROVEMENTS will be made at Fratton Park as part of major proposals to build a nearby Tesco superstore.
As reported, a bid has been put forward by Point Estates and the retail giant to set up a supermarket and petrol station behind the Fratton end at the home of Pompey.
Part of the proposals, if planning permission is granted, is that cash will be given by Point Estates to the club towards its long-term investment plans.
Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet will decide on Monday whether part of the former Jayhards site close to Fratton Park off nearby Rodney Road should be sold to Point Estates, so it can use it for the development.
The firm also hopes to make use of the nearby former BT site which it owns – but that depends on whether a restrictive covenant ordering no residential or retail use on it to be lifted.
Another part of the former Jayhards site and land in Alverstone Road could be used by Pompey as a 250-space car park for players and fans.
Mark Catlin, Pompey’s chief executive, said plans to improve Fratton Park were still in the early stages and the funding is part of a long-term investment.
‘This will be a massive boost for the club,’ he said.
‘What we are looking to do is develop a long-term, strategic regeneration of Fratton Park over the next 10 years or so, and this money will give us a good starting point in order to fulfil our long-term aims for the club.’
While the amount is confidential, it will help pay for maintenance of the stands. New electrics need to be fitted and steps running down to exits need realigning.
If extra funding is found, then the long term goal is to replace the north stand, which at capacity holds 7,500 fans, and build a new one with corporate boxes – though that could cost around £10m.
John Kimbell, of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, which owns the club, said: ‘We welcome any investment because it has been neglected by so many owners for a long time.
‘Fans are obviously going to have their own personal opinions about having a Tesco superstore there, but people going to Fratton Park obviously want to watch in a comfortable setting. If that investment will make that happen I am sure it will be welcomed.’
A Tesco spokesman said a planning application is due to be submitted very soon.
Opposition though continues over the Tesco development close to Fratton Park.
Two petitions started by Andrew Manning, of Portsmouth Fruit & Flower Ltd, in Eastney Road, Portsmouth, have attracted about 3,000 signatures and there are 500 letters ready to be given to the council.
Campaigners are worried about the impact the store will have on small businesses and the level of traffic.
Mr Manning said: ‘My view is exactly the same. Tesco is killing everything.
‘Come along this parade and you won’t find anywhere else like it anywhere in the town. Trade won’t be affected at first, but give it a couple of years and people will start drifting.’