Network Rail says it won't pick up the tab for proposed new bridge connecting Portsmouth's Fratton Park with railway station
NETWORK Rail has said it is not looking to spend any money on creating a new footpath and bridge between Fratton Park and the railway station.
As reported, Blues chief executive Mark Catlin said that the club would like to see a new walkway into Fratton Park from the station – but said that the club would not be paying for it.
It would allow away fans to walk directly from the station to the ground and would ease pedestrian congestion along Goldsmith Avenue on matchdays.
But Network Rail says construction will only go ahead if either Pompey or Portsmouth City Council pay for the new bridge.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: ‘We want to encourage third party investment into the railway as it provides valuable opportunities for other organisations to get involved in local schemes, which is great for passengers.
‘We are always happy to work with other organisations to help develop schemes that maintain safety of the railway and deliver benefits for local stakeholders. We’re keen to continue working with the football club and the local authority to develop proposals.’
Deputy council leader, Cllr Steve Pitt, said: ‘There has been a lot of discussion about this and a lot of cross-party work to make something happen.
‘Ultimately though its not our land and all we can do is support the football club – the infrastructure around the ground is ageing and we desperately need to do something to take the pressure off Goldsmith Avenue, it’s carnage down there on weekends.’
Hilsea ward councillor, Donna Jones, is also the strategic stadium director for Portsmouth FC.
She believes it’s ‘crucial’ that the travelling fans are given a direct path to the stadium.
‘It’s a very important part of what’s going on at the ground,’ she said.
‘Goldsmith Avenue is extremely narrow and so isn’t a particularly safe route.
‘The quickest route would be from the platform at Fratton Station into the car park, and would encourage fans both home and away to use the train rather than driving to the ground.’