Development is welcome but must be scrutinised

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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It’s true, Fratton Park holds a special place in the hearts of Pompey fans, but the sad fact remains that the stadium is in dire need of repair.

And as the club has dropped down the leagues, so revenues have dropped accordingly for Pompey, without even touching on the financial mess left by previous owners.

But with the trust now in charge, it’s time for a clean break with the past, and for new ways of thinking to be brought into the operation of this much-loved institution.

Other clubs have looked into different ways of financing their future, through building hotels and the like, and in this respect, bringing new money to the club can only be a good thing.

Fantastic visions of massive stadiums floating in the harbour have rightly been consigned to the past. However, Fratton Park is showing its age, and is more than crumbling around the edges.

Deals with third party organisations to help secure the club’s future may prove to be vital to Pompey and its ground – as chief executive Mark Catlin says, the north stand needs substantial work done to it.

However, while we support the idea in principle, none of this is to say that any planning application that goes before the city council shouldn’t be subjected to the proper scrutiny that any other proposal would.

It can’t just be hustled through because of what the club is and what it means to thousands across the city.

Applications for new supermarkets are often fraught with difficulty, and Tesco itself can be a divisive name.

It will bring extra traffic into what is already a congested area, and the traffic and highways issues will need to be scrutinised thoroughly, along with any other concerns raised by the people who will be living around it.

To this end, the public sessions being held next month should not just be paying lip-service to the idea of consultation, they really should make sure that the people’s views are taken onboard.

Let’s hope that this time those in charge do listen to what the people tell them.