THE much-anticipated decision on whether Sir Ben Ainslie will base his America’s Cup team in Portsmouth will be made in the coming days.
The Olympic sailing champion’s team, Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), received planning permission from the city council on Wednesday for its headquarters to be at the Camber dock.
But, as reported, BAR is now waiting on £8m in government funding – which will be signed off by Michael Fallon MP, the minister for Portsmouth – before announcing its final decision.
Speaking on behalf of BAR, Sarah Alexander said: ‘Ben Ainslie Racing was delighted to receive approval for the team’s new base on the Camber in Portsmouth. We are particularly grateful for the support of the city’s residents.
The new headquarters will provide jobs for many local people, with the construction industry the most immediate beneficiaries once work commences on the building.
‘Over time, we anticipate that the base will create 90 permanent and up to 550 indirect jobs in the area, providing a significant boost to local employment.
‘However the team being based in Portsmouth is still contingent on receiving additional funding streams that we will continue to work on over the next seven to 10 days before we are able to make a final decision on the team’s permanent base in the city.’
According to the report ordered by Mr Fallon, the project will cost £87m.
Planning consent was unanimously voted in favour of by members of Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee this week.
At the same time, a letter was set by officers from Southampton City Council, asking Sir Ben to consider two other sites that were marked out as potential alternatives.
Prime minister David Cameron yesterday backed Sir Ben’s plan in Portsmouth.
In a local radio interview, he said: ‘You have got Ben Ainslie and the investment he’s putting into Portsmouth is absolutely fantastic and I’m very excited about that and his plans for that.’