English League One football club Portsmouth has announced that a multi-million-pound redevelopment of its Fratton Park stadium has begun, with work to be carried out over the next four seasons.
The club announced in August last year that it had secured planning permission for the first phase of development work at the stadium which would see the capacity of its Milton End stand increase to 3,200.
Over the past year, Portsmouth has worked to determine how best to incorporate this project into the redevelopment work required in the North and South stands at Fratton Park while minimising the overall impact on fans.
The club said that it has faced “major challenges” to meet ever tightening health and safety regulations across Fratton Park, despite significant investment having been made on the underlying stadium fabric and infrastructure in recent years.
Portsmouth has now announced that redevelopment work will begin immediately, initially on the North and Sound stands. Work will culminate with the Milton End project, with timings to be updated as the project develops.
The work is set to increase the overall capacity of Fratton Park to more than 20,000. The plans will include improved access, new concession facilities, increased concourse areas, new seats, new electrical infrastructures and a longer-term decoration programme, as well as provision of disabled facilities in all four stands.
Cuts to Fratton Park’s existing capacity will be made while the work is being undertaken.
Portsmouth chairman Michael Eisner said: “Significant investment has already taken place over the past few years to keep the stadium safe, including keeping the South and North stand open. During this period, both in terms of a requirement of investment into infrastructure, strategic asset purchases, and COVID losses, £10m (€11.6m/$14.1m) has already been spent, along with a further commitment from myself for these works of an additional £10m.
“Everyone is aware that while Fratton Park is an atmospheric stadium, it is also incredibly old, and we have reached a stage where due to the amount of work required internally at the ground, our capacity was going to be severely affected. We have also now committed to a new Milton End, that will not only stop this from happening, but will also eventually ensure we can welcome more than 20,000 passionate fans back into the ground.”
The work will mark the first major redevelopment of Fratton Park since 1997.