New football hub at King George V playing fields to be leased to Hampshire FA
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Having advertised for the “disposal” of the land, including the new pavilion, over the summer, Portsmouth City Council has now confirmed an agreement has been reached running until July 2039.
“Hampshire Football Association has been identified as the preferred operator and the city council is currently working to confirm this appointment,” a new cabinet report says.
It adds: “Hampshire Football Association has commenced early engagement with local football clubs to refine local community club needs and develop the usage plan for the site.
“Their appointment at this stage of the development will also enable valuable input into the design and finish of the pavilion.”
Hampshire FA operates similar facilities across the county, including the Front Lawn Community Hub in Havant, Stoneham Football Complex in Eastleigh and Winklebury Football Complex in Basingstoke.
Construction of the multi-million pound facility began earlier this year after funding was awarded to the city council to address a shortfall of provision in the city, identified in the 2018 Playing Pitch Strategy for Portsmouth.
The football hub will include the replacement of the pavilion with new changing rooms, toilets and a cafe as well as two all-weather pitches.
However, the project has attracted a degree of controversy after the council confirmed it would no longer be able to hold the annual Cosham fireworks display from the playing fields due to the reduction in its size.
The pavilion is due to be completed in November with a “soft opening” taking place the following month. The entire project is expected to be finished in January.
The council said it was working with Hampshire FA to see whether it was possible to use the all-weather pitches ahead of this.
No objections were made to the council’s disposal notice which is a legal requirement to offer the lease. The council said it would retain overall ownership of the site.
Planning permission for the football hub was granted last year, with Portsmouth City Council leader Steve Pitt describing it as a “much-needed development”.