Portsmouth chief executive Andy Cullen meets with Network Rail and Stephen Morgan MP to discuss progress in Fratton Park redevelopment plans

Representatives of Pompey and Network Rail were brought together this week by Stephen Morgan MP as he continued his efforts to support development work at Fratton Park and improve access to the stadium.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:23 pm

The four-year refurbishment programme is designed to maintain Fratton Park’s capacity by meeting health and safety regulations.

The South and North stands remain the focus of the attention, with work currently in progress.

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Meanwhile, the Milton End is earmarked as the final stage, although Pompey still have planning permission dating back to August 2020 to construct a new stand on that side of the ground.

When announcing their latest ground improvement efforts, Pompey confirmed they were ‘in dialogue with local government about much needed infrastructure improvements in the local vicinity to facilitate access to the stadium along the key transportation routes to Fratton Park.’

Morgan has for some time been calling on the city council to play an active role in getting the Blues’ Milton End plans off the ground, at a time when government is making money available for regeneration.

And in a summit set up this week, representatives of Network Rail and Pompey – including chief executive Andy Cullen – met with the Portsmouth MP at Fratton Station to discuss future cooperation.

Pompey CEO Andy Cullen, left, and Stephen Morgan MP

The meeting included a walk around the site to better understand access challenges from the station on match days and wider congestion issues.

The group agreed a set of ideas and took away a number of actions to improve links to the stadium, as well as wider future rail investment plans for Portsmouth and the region.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said: ‘For me, our club’s success is our city’s success and as we recover from this crisis it’s vital we see the investment that’s needed to improve connectivity and access to Fratton Park, which will be critical for securing the city’s future prosperity.

‘I was glad to facilitate discussions between the club and Network Rail and I was encouraged to see some progress made on this issue which has been stalling for some time now.

Planning permission to redevelop the Milton End at Fratton Park was granted in August 2020.

‘I will continue to do all I can to support the club’s ambitions for this project and will be urging the city council to do so too to help make these plans a reality for fans.’

Cullen added: ‘We are extremely grateful for both the keen interest and support that Stephen Morgan MP continues to invest in the proposals for the future development of Fratton Park and the associated impact on local transport and infrastructure.

‘We look forward to further discussions with all the various stakeholders to shape and deliver an exciting and inspiring future, both for the football club and the city of Portsmouth.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘It is disappointing that no one from the council was invited to be part of this meeting. There has been a lot of discussion about this in the past and a lot of cross party working to support the Club's ambitions, including encouraging Network Rail and government to invest in a pedestrian bridge to make the fans journey safer and easier.

‘We are currently consulting on our local plan which includes an opportunity to support Portsmouth FCs aspirations to expand Fratton Park's seating capacity, if an increase in visitors can be safely and sustainably accommodated. Wider potential redevelopment opportunities in this area include a residential-led development with small-scale commercial and leisure uses to south of Rodney Road and an area of residential-led development within The Pompey Centre.’

Those interested should visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/localplan to give feedback or go to a local plan drop in sessions - with the next one on Tuesday October 19 4pm - 8pm at Pompey in the Community, Fratton.