Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton has revealed that a multi-million pound upgrade to Portman Road's facilities, ahead of the club's long-awaited return to the Premier League, will affect hundreds of supporters.

Safe standing areas, a new TV gantry and an increased away capacity will see 'circa 750' season ticket holders have to move from their current seats.

"In January, under 'Section K', the Premier League visit and audit a number of clubs that they think have a chance of maybe getting promoted to the Premier League. We were one of them," said Ashton, speaking on TownTV.

"Out of that audit came 15+ major infrastructure projects that we had to start preparing for. We had to have the orders in place and the work set so that when you are promoted you can hit the button. You've got to prove to the Premier League you are ready to go.

"So those infrastructure projects are going to start now. To be honest, some of them have already started.

East Anglian Daily Times: Portman Road was regularly packed to its 29,000 capacity last season. Portman Road was regularly packed to its 29,000 capacity last season. (Image: PA)

"We will have circa 750 season ticket holders who will be relocated to other places in the stadium. Why? Well, we currently give, under Football League rules, circa 2,000 tickets to away fans. That now has to increase to 3,000. We've looked at the different options. The increase from the 2,000 to the 3,000 will predominantly be Upper Cobbold and S Block in Lower Cobbold. 

"We are going to introduce some safe standing at the start of next season. That will be in Upper Cobbold. There is a challenge in Upper Cobbold because of the rake (steepness) of the stand. But having discussed this with the local authority and the safety advisory group, it is the most logical place for us to test safe standing.

"So a number of the seats in Upper Cobbold will change to safe standing. That includes A Block and where the majority of the away fans currently go. We debated whether we start this in the North Stand, the South Stand, the West Stand, but concluded this is the logical point for us to test it. 

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"In addition to that there are camera points around the stadium that need to be put in place. In the Championship we had a six camera feed. We now move to a 46 camera feed in the Premier League, plus VAR. So there will also be moves for some supporters in the Upper West Stand because camera points will have to be put in. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town are returning to the Premier League following a 22-year absence.Ipswich Town are returning to the Premier League following a 22-year absence. (Image: PA)

"There's a whole new TV gantry that needs to be put into the Upper West Stand that overhangs part of the central executive boxes above the directors' box. That work has to happen.

"If you look at the tunnel area where teams come out, directly above the tunnel you have the safety office with a great big pane of glass. Above that, the pitched roof will be taken off and a third level will be put onto that building. That will be for a Sky broadcast facility.

"Our floodlights are around 750/800 wattage and we've got to up them to around 1700/1800 wattage for the whole stadium. We'll move to an LED system. The whole stadium is going to look very, very different under light.

"All of this work is costing several million pounds, but it has to be done. These are minimum requirements."

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton has asked supporters to be understanding if they have to move seats next season.Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton has asked supporters to be understanding if they have to move seats next season. (Image: PA)

Ashton added: "What I would like to say to the fanbase is this. These projects have been thought through in detail. We have challenged ourselves, we have worked with the local authority, we have worked with key stakeholders to come up with what we believe are the best solutions.

"There is a team behind the team here at Portman Road that works tirelessly, whether that's in ticketing, retail, operation, media, comms, finance etc. That team is stretched right now. They are working tirelessly to make sure we are prepared for the Premier League.

"The one thing I'm going to ask the fans is to be understanding of why we are making some of the changes.

"You may have sat in a specific seat in this stadium for a long time that you may not sit in next season. We are going to have to move some people. There is no choice.

"So please don't complain to staff that you're having to move seat. That decision has been made and it has been made for a reason.

"Fans have approached change fantastically well in the past and I would ask them to do the same again.

"What I would ask fans to do is just breathe. Please do not contact the ticket office or customer services trying to get ahead of this. We know who you are and we will be in contact with you really, really quickly and we'll give you alternatives."