Portsmouth chief Mark Catlin heartened by Milton end progress in Fratton Park ambition
Mark Catlin remains ‘very optimistic’ as Pompey continue dialogue over achieving their Fratton Park ambition.
And the Blues’ chief executive doesn't foresee the coronavirus crisis impacting upon plans which hinge on overhauling the Milton end.
Proposals for Milton end work were lodged with Portsmouth City Council on March 6, some seven weeks after their public unveiling.
However, pivotal to the redevelopment is earning the support of Network Rail and local and central government.
Pompey have been pushing for improvements in the transport infrastructure around Fratton Park to accompany any potential increase in ground capacity.
And Catlin is encouraged about ongoing progress.
He said: ‘With the Milton end, we are still in the planning application stage, so at this moment in time we’re waiting for approval.
‘Whereas the North stand was already well advanced in terms of the legalities of getting the work done. It is a completely different project to the Milton end.
‘Talks are ongoing with all stakeholders in regards of access to and from the stadium – which is the trigger for us to be able to start work on the Milton end and much larger projects.
‘Discussions have carried on behind the scenes and we are very optimistic.
‘I think there will be a desire from both central and local government post COVID-19 to kickstart the economy.
‘I remain hopeful that, as a club, it won’t hinder our chances of achieving what we want to achieve at Fratton Park – and actually could, in some cases, enable us to reach our goals.
‘We have been very straight from the off. We have never given a timeframe on the Milton end, we are still waiting for a planning application.
‘That will still be dependent on the ongoing talks with all stakeholders, including Network Rail and the local council.’
According to Catlin, the stand was under threat of being closed unless the club complied.
And while the Milton end urgently needs redevelopment, he insists it is not under threat of closure.
He added: ‘The Milton end can continue to be used in the meantime.
‘With any structure, there are timeframes, but I don’t believe anything will affect it in the next few seasons.
‘We continue to work through this virus with a number of stakeholders in trying to enable us to achieve swift access in and out of the stadium.
'That will trigger, at that point, a number of other projects.’
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