Fratton Park comes first as masterplan for stadium unveiled

Pompey must tie up deals to sell off and develop Fratton Park before they can afford to build their dream stadium.

More details about plans to build the new 35,000-seater stadium at Horsea Island emerged yesterday.

And there were new details about how the 'masterplan' will be put in place.

The club revealed that because of the financial crisis it was now pinning its hopes for the new ground on generating cash from redeveloping its current home.

It said the new ground would go ahead but it was now a two-stage process – and without the cash from Fratton Park, it would not be able to pay for the Horsea Island scheme.

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he expected a planning application for Fratton Park to be submitted within 'a matter of weeks'.

But the second application, for the stadium on Horsea Island, is not likely to be put in until next spring.

Pompey's plan for Horsea Island includes a 10,000-seater entertainment arena, two hotels, a casino, a dental surgery, medical centre, sports rehabilitation clinic as well as restaurants and shops.

The club feels this is the only way to deliver the stadium in light of the current economic climate.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson believes the newly-unveiled masterplan could help the club's chances of getting the stadium approved. There had previously been concerns that government inspectors would reject it because shops included in the scheme would threaten the city centre.

'By including things such as a sports clinic and medical centre it makes it sound like it isn't an out-of-town shopping centre,' the council leader said.

'This makes it more likely we can make a decision here. The less retail, the better chance they have got.'

Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South, told The News he was 'slightly disappointed' that the club wasn't submitting plans for Fratton and Horsea Island together.

He said: 'I was hoping they could do both (planning applications) together but we will have to deal with it.

'We want some assurance if they get one they will deliver the second one.

'The club are saying they want to raise between 5m and 6m for the bigger planning application.

'The first application, and getting that delivered, is the only way they will be able to pay for the second, so it's the Fratton application which unlocks the whole thing.'

Earlier yesterday, Peter Storrie, the club's executive chairman, said the scheme would help to regenerate the Port Solent area.

'We had a meeting with the council last week and we all decided it was time for the masterplan to be out there,' he said. 'The club and the city are working together to stop this being called in by the government. If this falls down then all we have left is where we are at Fratton Park.'

A club statement said: 'Since the new stadium site at Horsea Island was first unveiled in the summer of 2008, there has been much speculation on the scope of the final development.

'Given the importance of the project, Portsmouth FC and Sellar Property Group want to restate their commitment to deliver not just a new stadium to the Pompey fans, but a new landmark that will enhance Portsmouth's growing reputation as an outstanding tourist destination.'

The club said in a statement that the scheme now includes plans for:-

A 35,000-plus seater stadium

100,000sq ft arena

Medical centre

Dental surgery

Sports rehabilatation centre

Casino

Four-star hotel

Budget hotel

30,000 sq ft of offices

Restaurant and catering units

1,000 homes

320,000sq ft of retail space and parking

3,000 car parking spaces for the stadium

park and ride scheme

They are also looking at a new access to the M275 and improved public transport, with potential for a new bridge to Tipner.

And it would also see the Royal Navy Diving Centre on Horsea Island being given a complete overhaul.

The statement said the stadium development would create a 'world class architectural landscape at the gateway to Portsmouth'.