A GATE that has been stopping Pompey fans from using an access road to get in and out of Fratton Park will not be opened.
The Sellar Property Group, which owns a two-foot wide strip of land underneath the gate, has refused to say why it decided to keep the blue gate locked this season.
But the company, which owns the Shard in London, as well as the Pompey Centre off Fratton Way, has denied it wants to scupper a planned Tesco development at Fratton Park.
Sources close to Portsmouth City Council told The News plans had been mooted to build a Morrison’s supermarket on the Pompey Centre land, halving the size of the nearby B&Q depot.
But that have been firmly denied by Sellar, and The News understands closing off the access road will not stop the Tesco development getting under way on land owned by developer Stuart Robinson.
In a statement, Sellar said it supported the Tesco deal.
A spokesman said: ‘We see these plans as being potentially beneficial for all concerned.
‘We would also like to point out that, as far as we are aware, B&Q has no plans to downsize its facility on the Pompey Centre – the company still has 14 years remaining on its current lease.
‘Sellar has never had any conversations with Morrison’s about providing a supermarket on its land and, as far as Sellar is aware, we believe that they have adequate coverage in Portsmouth through existing stores on the Victory Retail Park and at Anchorage Road.’
The gate closure caused problems for Pompey fans at the club’s last home game on Saturday, November 2 against Exeter, as barriers were put in the wrong place, stopping supporters from leaving via a newly-constructed pathway out of the stadium’s main car park. Some were left with cuts, grazes and gashes after attempting to climb a fence to get out of the site.
The club has apologised and said the problem would not be repeated.
Pompey engagement manager Micah Hall said: ‘The club was informed by Sellar’s representative in mid-June that there would no longer be pedestrian access to the Fratton end car park using the entrance from Jimmy Dickinson Way. This was with immediate effect.
‘Access and egress from Fratton Park on a match-day is smooth and efficient, but we are aware there is regularly a bottleneck where Sellar have now locked the gate.
‘This is completely beyond the club’s control, as we don’t own either the car park or the land where the gate is sited.
‘However, in the interests of our fans and their safety, we would welcome any initiative from Sellar to ensure this situation is amicably resolved and the gate reopened on a matchday, as it is clearly in everyone’s interests to do so.’