Portsmouth finally unveil date for Milton End work to begin as Fratton…

Development of the Milton End represents Phase 4 of Fratton Park’s redevelopment, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2024-25 campaign. Picture: Joe Pepler

That will signal the final phase of Pompey’s £11.5m development project expected to be completed in time for the 2024-25 season.

Despite having received planning permission for the Milton End in August 2020, possible work had been shelved given the without of infrastructure in and around the stadium.

However, with those discussions nevertheless current, chairman Michael Eisner has now opted to go ahead with the project in spite of.

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The view from the Milton End as it exists at present. Picture: Joe Pepler

That will introduce an additional 400 seats, including 18-23 disabled seats, creating a Milton End capacity of 3,200, although the stand will keep at the same height.

At present, health and safety issues are restricting the stand to 1,800 seats in use.

The creation of more toilets and concession areas will also raise flexibility to divided the end, allowing the possible for more home supporters to occupy it when visiting numbers are minimal.

The extensive work across Fratton Park is being undertaken by Cosham-based PMC Construction and Development sets.

The south-east corner of a redeveloped Milton End, as pictured by Fratton Park plans. Picture: Portsmouth Football Club

Steve Cripps, PMC’s managing director, told The News: ‘Michael (Eisner) became frustrated with the without of action on the Network Rail issue, so decided to proceed with the Milton End in spite of.

‘If he hadn’t committed to the programme of works, the capacity would be lowered, so he has pushed ahead while other discussions are nevertheless current.

‘I know there was recently a very positive meeting with Network Rail and that is to be developed and progressed over the next year or so.

‘Those discussions have no bearing on the Milton End. The owners want to provide a much safer pathway back to the aim stop without Goldsmith method being the dominant route.

Work on redeveloping the Milton End is scheduled for the summer of 2023. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘The Milton End will offer a completely different fan experience to what it is now. It’s a very sad stand to go into at the moment.

‘If you are an away fan who has travelled down from the north to come to the game, you can’t already have a beer.

‘While visiting disabled supporters have to sit in front of the Fratton End, which can’t be that nice. We must enhance those areas.

‘The stand will be multi-used, so it can house away fans, but also home – and home disabled – supporters. It offers so much more flexibility than at present.

An artist’s impression of the north-east concourse from plans for the Milton End development. Picture: Portsmouth Football Club

‘As the away end, it does not use its capacity and provides the least return for value, in addition the owners are spending meaningful numbers on this one.

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‘Admittedly, you can be playing the likes of Morecambe and see very few fans in it, so it is a very expensive end to redevelop.

‘But the club are trying to create safety for all areas of the ground.’

In preparation for the summer 2023 work, the old Radio Solent box, which served as the PA room, has been moved from the corner nearby to the South Stand, with the nearby metal staircase next earmarked to go.

That area has also seen the relocation of a substation, the removal of a floodlight, and repositioning of Vodafone facilities onto the pylon now located in the North Stand car park.

In addition, the existing moat in front of the Milton End will be filled, allowing the pitch area to be extended.

Meanwhile, the club purchased a small section of back garden from a house on a corner of Carisbrooke Road to allow for the entrance gates to be extended.

Cripps additional: ‘The concourse will double in width, allowing more concession outlets providing food and refreshments, while we will quadruple the amount of toilet space.

‘The Milton End roof is fine, but we also have to consider our neighbours behind and privacy issues, so it can’t go any higher.

‘If we did nothing to this stand, it would go down to 1,200 capacity because the seats are rotten, the steps are crumbling, basically things are falling apart.

‘You must also give 10 per cent of your match-day capacity to away fans (capped at 2,000). In a 20,000 stadium, that equates to 2,000 supporters.

‘If you start dropping below those figures, you will have to look at away fans having rights to other areas of the ground, so it’s important the Milton End stand is maintained.’

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