The Pompey Supporters' Trust try and explain a layman's guide to Fratton Park and the land surrounding it and how this impacts on the future of Portsmouth FC.
By Michael Saunders
By Michael Saunders
Does Balram Chainrai not get to keep the ground due to his charge?
We at the Trust have been advised that the ground would become an asset of the liquidator's to sell and as such would present an opportunity for those wanting a new club set up to purchase the land.
The ideal solution would be for someone to purchase the ground from the liquidator for the use as a football ground. However if the ground was purchased by someone looking to develop the ground for other uses, local authorities have the power to purchase land off private land owners if it seen as being a compelling case in the public interest via a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). These are often seen as a last resort and due to legal fees, can prove expensive. We would hope this would not be a neccessary course of action as the ground would be purchased by those of us wanting to continue to have football at Fratton.
So anyone could buy the ground and develop it for other uses?
Portsmouth City Council recently (24th Jan 2012) has it's 'Portsmouth Plan' approved by a Government Inspector. This document sets out the planning policy for the various areas of the city, identifying areas which should be for residential or industrial or the like. Within this plan the Fratton Park land and the vacant land around it has a specific planning policy which requires any development to be to the benefit of the football club. For that reason the land can only be used as part of a football ground unless the club is relocated, which the Portsmouth Plan discourages. The cost and time scales involved in challenging this policy would be considerable and would far outweigh the value of the land, making it an unlikely prospect for any ruthless developer. The Portsmouth Plan can be read here with pages 62 to 64 relating to the Fratton Park area: http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/media/Portsmouth_Plan_%28adoption%29_%28low_res%29.pdf
The Portsmouth Plan includes all the land around the ground, who owns this?
Most of the land was acquired during Milan Mandaric's tenure at the club. This has since been transferred to the ownership of another former owner Alexandre Gaydamak. He currently owns the land behind the Fratton End and right round to the old ticket office and Megastore on Rodney Road and the land directly behind the North Stand. The rest of the land along Rodney Road, which is included in the development area as identified in the Portsmouth Plan is owned by the businesses which occupy the south side of Rodney Road.
What will happen to this land surrounding the ground?
The only way Portsmouth FC can ever establish itself as a sustainable football club for a city the size of Portsmouth and to play regularly at the highest level is for the club to have a 21st century stadium and catch up with most other English clubs who have the infrastructure expected of the modern game. It is vital to the future of the club that the land around the ground is reunited with the club to enable a comprehensive redevelopment of the area including enabling development to pay for the stadium in accordance with the objectives of the Portsmouth Plan.
So what can the Trust do about all this?
The Pompey Supporters Trust is currently active in looking at all the possible outcomes for the future of the club. As part of this we have had meetings and discussions as to how to safeguard Fratton Park for the future of the football club. For example, this means we have explored how we could step in if liquidation occurred as an interested party for buying the site. We've also discussed this issue with Portsmouth City Council to ascertain what they could do to help in such situations.
So as a fan, what can I do?
Join the Trust if you have not already done so - it's only a fiver to join and at this time we as a fan base need to be united with strength in numbers. Also sign up to the 12th Man website to be on the database for news of what the supporters are doing to safeguard our club and be able to notify you what you can do to help.
Whilst only part of the ongoing situation the club finds itself in, retaining Fratton Park is essential to the future of the club, and the Pompey Supporters Trust firmly believe we, as fans, can have a say on that outcome.