A BREATHTAKING new era for Pompey is unveiled as club bosses reveal their £600m plans to build a sensational stadium on Portsmouth waterfront.
The vision of the club's future would mean Fratton Park, which was established in 1899, bulldozed and a new stadium built next to the Spinnaker Tower, jutting out into the harbour itself on land that has been reclaimed from the sea.
If planning chiefs give the nod, the city is set to see the birth of a stunning new stadium, as part of a massive project which will change the face of both the seafront and Fratton.
But despite the amazing scope of the project many councillors – who could hold the key to whether the project goes ahead – only saw the plans for the first time yesterday at a 4pm briefing.
The stadium project will mean:
A two-tier 36,000-seater stadium built on reclaimed land next to the harbour station
HMS Warrior being moved about 150 feet closer to the dockyard to make way for the 13-acre plot
A new bowl-shaped ground surrounded by 1,500 luxury flats, up to 22 storeys high
A public walkway, or 'urban beach', of 1 acres created around the ground, lined with restaurants, cafes and sports shops
A revamped transport hub with a continental-style open piazza
The end of the 20,000-seater Fratton Park, which sits on 17 acres of land, which will be turned into homes.
The announcement brings to an end months of speculation with several sites being thought likely new homes for the club.
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Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie said: 'This will be the most spectacular stadium, set against the backdrop of the harbour and the English Channel, befitting the club's history.
'The club will be playing a big part in the regeneration of the city, and our fans will have the very best in terms of facilities and amenities as well as an excellent viewing experience.'
He added: 'Portsmouth Football Club is moving into a new dawn with the backing of owner Alexandre Gaydamak and these are very exciting times for the club both on and off the field.
'The new stadium, along with plans for the club's new training ground at Titchfield, are proof of where we want Pompey to be – playing at the highest level and in a stadium befitting a top Premiership side.'
The development is expected to create thousands of jobs during construction and hundreds of permanent jobs once it is completed.
Planning applications will be put in to Portsmouth City Council as soon as the club is able to.
If all the necessary permission is gained then land reclamation could begin as early as summer 2008.
Pompey bosses aim to be playing matches in their new stadium by 2011 and even hope it will feature as one of the Olympic venues for when Britain hosts the Games in 2012.
There will also be a new focus on the future of the club with a 3,000-seat family enclosure allowing more young fans to enjoy matches.
James Sellar, the chief executive of Sellar Property Group, said: 'This scheme is set to become an international icon reflecting Portsmouth's historic and future status as one of the UK's principal cities.'
Both Pompey and Sellar representatives said they were keen to retain the club in the city.
The proposals have been given a cautious welcome.
The city council's Tory economy spokesman, Cllr Simon Bosher, said: 'Hats off to the football club for coming up with something so radical and innovative. But it raises a lot of questions about security and transportation.'
Peter Goodship, chief executive of Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, which manages the Historic Dockyard, said: 'We have not really had an opportunity to take in the plans yet.'
THE PROPOSAL AT A GLANCE
600m project to build new stadium and redevelop Fratton Park
New 36,000-seater stadium between HMS Warrior and Spinnaker Tower
Stadium built on what is currently water
1,500 luxury flats at the new stadium
80 executive boxes for 3,000 people
New 3,000-seat family enclosure
Bulldozing Fratton Park and building hundreds of new homes and flats
No new parking spaces for fans
Possible new park-and-ride sites at Tipner and north of city
Move HMS Warrior
NO PARKING FOR SUPPORTERS A MAJOR TALKING POINT
A big surprise in Pompey's plans revolves around the crunch issue of transport to the new stadium, with no parking spaces for fans.
Traffic congestion into Gunwharf Quays is already a massive problem, even without tens of thousands of fans adding to the queues.
Pompey want to underline the club's green credentials by making sure that most supporters arrive by public transport. Fans will be able to get to the new ground across land and sea by catching trains to Portsmouth Harbour, buses to a revamped station at The Hard and ferries from Gosport and the Isle of Wight.
Park-and-ride schemes are also pencilled in at locations such as Tipner or to the north of the city.
But apart from spaces underneath the stadium for club officials, players and VIPs, as well as residents of the 1,500 luxury apartments, there will be nowhere for motorists to park.
Chief executive Peter Storrie is confident there will be no problem getting the club's city fan base to switch to public transport.
City transport boss Cllr Alex Bentley said: 'The design concept is absolutely first rate but my over-riding concern is there are transport issues. Encouraging more cars to that spot is not ideal, it is already packed at lunchtimes and weekends anyway.
'But I know the club is willing to look at these problems and I see it as an exciting challenge.'
Tory economy spokesman Cllr Simon Bosher said: 'If you take the park-and-ride from Tipner down to Gunwharf it does ask if there is a future for a monorail in Portsmouth.'
See today's paper for more on the proposed new stadium.
Pompey will build 2,250 new homes in the city as part of their relocation vision.
The bulldozed Fratton Park site will make way for around 750 homes, including a mixture of homes, flats and affordable housing units.
The new stadium will offer up to 1,500 luxury one, two and three-bed apartments with panoramic views out across the Solent.
This will go some way to the city council meeting its housing target – it needs to build up to 15,000 homes over the next 20 years.
Sellar Property Group, which is jointly pursuing the plans with Pompey, said there would be a phased development with part of the Fratton site being developed while the club continues to play at the ground.PARTNERS
It is not the first time Pompey have teamed up with Sellar Property Group in a bid to push forward bold development projects.
The club and Sellar, which was also behind the Roko development on Copnor Road, have already joined forces on the Pompey Centre, a major regeneration currently taking place around the Fratton Park area to build modern flats in one 10-storey and two six-storey blocks.
Sellar is also responsible for the famous London Bridge Tower development, known as the 'shard of glass', which is set to become Europe's tallest building at 1,016ft. Sellar owns retail land including the B&Q and KFC sites to the west of Fratton Way. RECLAMATION
The future of the 600m new stadium scheme rests on the engineering feat of snatching land back from the sea.
The foundations of the new stadium will be anchored in Portsmouth Harbour to hold up about 11 acres of reclaimed land with another two acres built on existing ground.
If the scheme is approved, world experts will be working in a depth of about 12 metres, said Neil Hendy, who is the development manager at Sellar Property Development.
The owners of the reclaimed land will be Portsmouth City Council and the Ministry of Defence.
Portsmouth Football Club hope to take up residence in their new home under a freehold long lease.FUNDING
Plans to bulldoze Fratton Park and build a state-of-the-art stadium next to Gunwharf Quays will cost about 600m all told.
Sellar Property Group has already been working closely with the football club to unlock the value of the prime land around Fratton Park.
Along with Pompey bosses, they say there are several ways of funding the dream scheme – by selling the land at Fratton Park for housing, by the selling price of luxury flats surrounding the new stadium and extra club revenues coming in from the additional 16,000 seats.
Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie promised fans that ticket prices would not go up if a sudden funding black hole appeared.WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The next step is for Pompey to test the water to see what the people of Portsmouth think of their vision.
This autumn, the club will take the blueprints to the city council's planning committee.
Pompey bosses are confident that planning consent for the Fratton Park redevelopment will be secured at the same time as permission is granted for the waterfront development.
Then developers will put in tenders for the work before one or more is chosen to build homes on the sites.
But if the plans aren't popular and spark opposition, a public inquiry will be triggered which could dash or delay the plan.
If that happens there could be months or years of battles ahead – Brighton and Hove Albion FC are still trying to get permission to build a new stadium in Falmer years after first mooting the idea.
And recent history suggests it will not be straightforward – in 2003, then-chairman Milan Mandaric unveiled plans to build a new Fratton Park.
But nearby residents voiced opposition because of fears of increased noise and traffic.
Gambling bosses were also thinking about building a super- casino as part of the Pompey Village plan, which involved building hundreds of homes, shops, offices and restaurants.
Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie said: 'Yes, there have been failed schemes in the past.
'But bringing in our partners has enabled us to put this together and another advantage is we have had months of very careful discussions.'