PLANNING permission has finally been granted for the Tifosy scheme.
Now Pompey must negotiate a lease agreement with Portsmouth City Council before work can finally commence on two new training ground pitches.
There are on-going discussions with the council over the duration of the lease – and work cannot be started until that has been resolvedMark Catlin
A crowd-funding project to create new youth facilities for the Blues raised £270,000 when it ended in August 2014.
Last week the green light was given to take over two of the nine Rugby Camp pitches which lie adjacent to the club’s Copnor Road training ground.
Work must now begin to bring the pitches up to a suitable level, which is expected to take 10-12 weeks.
In the meantime, a summer programme of improvements are currently under way at the Roko venue.
However, chief executive Mark Catlin insisted a lease agreement needs to be reached before starting on the two additional pitches.
Speaking to The News in the second part of a three-part interview, he said: ‘It’s great news to be given planning permission for the new pitches.
‘However, that is the first stage in the process and it has still a little way to go in that now the lease has to be approved by the council.
‘What we will be looking for is a lease to tie in with our existing Roko lease so they are all similar.
‘There are on-going discussions with the council over the duration of the lease – and work cannot be started until that has been resolved.
‘I can’t put a timescale on it because I don’t know how long these things take.
‘From start to finish, it will take 10-12 weeks to work on the pitches.
‘The pitches at the minute are unusable for a professional football club, a youth team or even the community, we need to start from scratch. We will dig down, put drainage in, introduce secondary drainage and reseed.
‘If the lease can be agreed before September, there is a good chance we can get the pitch work done this year.
‘However, if it takes until November/December then a decision may be taken to wait until March/April when the weather improves for work to take place.’
Plans involve bordering two pitches with three-metre-high welded-wire-mesh fencing and then five metres of netting.
That would create a six-metre wide alleyway, which will be monitored by the installation of CCTV.
Catlin added: ‘Among residents’ concern was the fence would create an alleyway where people may feel threatened walking down. We have addressed that and will install CCTV.
‘In addition, we have entered into a community-use agreement with Pompey in the Community (PITC) to give them access to the pitches.
‘Can we leave the door open for people to just come in and use the pitches? No, because it has to be controlled.
‘However, community use will be administrated through the PITC, so youngsters can use them.’
Meanwhile, Pompey have declined to comment on whether the previous contractors made a contribution towards this summer’s pitch work at Fratton Park and the training ground.
The News understands a legal confidentiality agreement is in place.