Portsmouth forced to change stadium plans


London : English Premier League club Portsmouth have had to change their plans for a new stadium because the Royal Navy intends to base two new super aircraft carriers close to the original site.

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The Hampshire club have shifted the site for the 36,000-seat stadium to Horsea Island from the Hard where its proximity to the Royal Navy base was a cause for “operational and security concerns”, the club’s website said.

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie is confident the move will not delay the new ground.

“The club is delighted that the Royal Navy here in Portsmouth is to be the home for the new carriers and destroyers.

“Clearly our plans have had to change as a result. We have always had a very good working relationship with the Royal Navy and once the new commissions were confirmed the Navy and the city council encouraged and worked with us in identifying another waterfront site for the stadium.

“The new site fits all the criteria as before and, in addition, creates new opportunities which will also enable us to be in the new stadium by 2011 as originally planned,” the website quoted Storrie as saying.

Portsmouth say they have already held discussions with the city council and the Royal Navy on the Horsea Island site becoming the new home for the Premier League outfit and intend to submit a planning application next year.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth city council, said: “The usual processes, such as a planning application, will have to take their normal independent path, but we will do what we can to facilitate this scheme.

“This scheme seems much more achievable than the one for The Hard.”