It's going to be the biggest single upgrade since Fratton Park was turned into an all-seater in 1997. The stadium's east end will grow, while also being themed with mock-Tudor decorations to match the historical south facade.
Fratton Park is famous for its unique charm, owed largely to its south side's main entry, depicted below. Far from a modern look, it most certainly tells a story and makes the ground stand out from most contemporary stadia.
And soon there will be much more of such aesthetics at Fratton Park, as confirmed on Friday by Portsmouth FC. The League One team have confirmed their planning permission for Milton End (east stand) expansion was approved unanimously. The stadium's most deteriorated grandstand will be thoroughly renovated, gaining more Tudor Revival style decorations instead of plain tin. This idea by HGP Architects should strengthen the stadium's identity and unique spirit when compared to other English grounds.
The Milton End expansion will become the largest intervention at Fratton Park since it became an all-seater in the post-Taylor-Report era, back in 1997. While the stand's total capacity is 2,885, the safe working capacity is much lower. As a result of the expansion, it will grow to 3,200 places.
That number includes 26 spots for wheelchairs, of which 16 will be elevated and 11 on ground level. Insufficient facilities for disabled fans have long been an issue, once this project is done the standard will go up significantly. Not just wheelchair spots, a new lift and dedicated toilets will be created.
Not just disabled fans, everyone should benefit from extended amenities. The amount of concession space should grow by 110%, number of toilets for male fans by 60%, while the number of toilets for female fans by massive 180%!
In order to create this new floor space, a new elevated concourse will be created behind the stand, leaving room behind the auditorium for toilets and kiosks. A new lodge, control room and media facilities will also be created. The stand's roof will receive a new cover and be extended.
The project is adversited by Portsmouth FC as the first phase of a major stadium refurbishment. However, it would be wrong to think nothing was done in recent years. The two largest stands, along the north and south sides of the field, were renovated internally, as were club offices. A new ticket office and club store were also created, while Fratton Park's iconic floodlight masts of 1956 were last year removed, replaced by roof-based lighting system.