Portsmouth launch Fratton Park upgrade

A project costing six-figures is under way to upgrade Fratton Park.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 3:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 4:20 pm
Work has this week started on a new South stand roof, scheduled to last up to five months. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Since Monday, scaffolding has taken residence on the outside of the South Stand with work aimed for completion within five months.

The renovation involves the construction of a new South Stand roof, as well as the enhancement of cladding on the stand’s back.

According to Mark Catlin, the crucial improvements will finally resolve flooding issues which for a long period have blighted supporters on match days and areas underneath the stand.

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Work has this week started on a new South stand roof, scheduled to last up to five months. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Pompey followers still await the definitive blueprint on the future of Fratton Park under the Eisner family.

In the meantime, repair work has started on the 120-year-old South stand.

Chief executive Mark Catlin said: ‘Before we embark on any main project, the priority is to bring existing areas of the stadium up to scratch.

'The work now taking place on the South Stand ticks one of those boxes. The whole of the South stand is getting a complete new shell.

‘There’s work going on which will be continuing for a four or five month period, it’s a huge project in its own right.

‘It’s going to mean the replacement of the South Stand roof, all the cladding on the back and all the roofing structures that protect the changing rooms, the corridors and Chimes area, which at this moment flood every time it rains.

‘It’s important work and part of our longer-term strategy for what we have planned for the future of the stadium.

‘Before any work can take place interior-wise in the South Stand, the structure must be safe and weatherproof.

‘These are the basics just to make sure that, if you then carry out works at a future date, one bad storm isn’t going to completely make this work irrelevant.

‘When we’ve had some rain on a Saturday, I usually have a growing inbox of emails from supporters highlighting rain coming through holes in the South Stand roof.

‘Additionally, it has been touch and go over a period of time in regards of should or shouldn't we open Chimes following flooding.

‘Renewal and refurbishment of the entire back of the South Stand and roof is a major step forward for what is our most iconic and famous stand.’

Last summer saw the introduction of a new club shop, while a large screen was installed in August.

However, Tornante’s self-imposed August deadline to unveil their ground ambition has passed with still no details released.

Although tangible work is now under way involving Fratton park's oldest stand.

Catlin added: ‘I cannot comment on the specifics of the cost because we are still at the stage where there are quotes and we won’t know the final figure.

‘But it is a very substantial figure, a heavy six-figure sum.

‘Work started this week and I would like to thank the residents in Carisbrooke Road, it has been a long process.

‘For six months we’ve been getting permission for workers to go into residents’ gardens and put the scaffolding there for a period of time – and they have been absolutely fantastic.

‘It’s a major step forward and a big ticket item which has needed to be addressed.’