First set of steel goes up at Sir Ben Ainslie’s new base in Portsmouth

The first steel goes up
The first steel goes up
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STANDING tall, this is the first set of steel structures to go up at the future site of Sir Ben Ainslie’s race base.

Building work is well under way on the Olympic sailing hero’s America’s Cup headquarters at Camber Dock in Old Portsmouth.

Steel has been erected on the east side of the site and more is expected to be fitted this month.

Frames are being delivered by lorries and residents are being kept up-to-date with the plans.

It follows two months of work done laying foundations down in preparation for the premises. Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said it was great things were moving along.

‘I am really pleased that within three months of Ben Ainslie Racing, getting the approval to be based in Portsmouth, the steels are going up and people can see the start of the building work.

‘It’s the start of Portsmouth’s future, one of high investment and high income and better outcomes for people and for Ben.’

Concrete is due to be cast with a concrete pump on October 17.

As previously reported by The News, the council approved the plans for the British team’s America’s Cup headquarters in June this year, despite some opposition to the plans.

Sir Ben has predicted it could generate around 1,000 jobs and pump more than £40m into the local economy.

Jonathan Goring, team base project director for Ben Ainslie Racing, said the work was ahead of schedule and the building will be completed by May 1 next year.

‘We are ahead of schedule, so that’s great news,’ he said.

‘It’s great that it looks so real with the steel going up and people can see what is happening.

‘The base will help engage young people who were disappointed with the news around shipbuilding and provide that light at the end of the tunnel.’

The base will host an art project for schools on Monday to illustrate the hoardings with pictures linked to Portsmouth’s maritime heritage.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the Duchess of Cambridge was due to visit the base on Monday, but is now unable to because of acute morning sickness because of her pregnancy.

Benefits to industry will last for many years

THE marine industry in Gosport will reap the benefits when sailors from around the world come to Portsmouth.

Peter Cardy, from Gosport Marine Scene, worked with the Ben Ainslie Racing team on the America’s Cup bid.

He said: ‘They’re going to find most of the support businesses they need in Gosport because there aren’t any in Portsmouth.

‘They will need a lot of support vessels – they in turn will need support vessels.

‘Most of those will come from Gosport.

‘There’s some very good crew accommodation here.’

Tim Newell, boatyard manager at Endeavour Quay, Mumby Road, said the knock-on effect from the two regattas in 2015 and 2016 will bring benefits in future.

He said: ‘It’s certainly exciting that it’s coming here and there should lots going on.

‘What they are doing will attract technology firms and industry to the area as there’s a clustering effect.

‘The trickle down of that will affect the whole industry. That will have a knock-on in five years.’