Kate coming to city shows that it means business

An artist's impression of how Portsmouth Retail Park could look.

Nine high street names including Greggs, Home Bargains and Subway lined up for new £16.2m Portsmouth Retail Park

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It’s always a great occasion when a member of the royal family comes to visit Portsmouth.

But because the Duchess of Cambridge is such a high-profile figure around the world, it makes it that much bigger – and is testament to how far the city has come in recent years.

Portsmouth hasn’t always been painted in a good light – and everyone remembers how tough times were when BAE Systems announced it would be closing down its shipbuilding operation.

With it would go 1,000 highly-skilled engineering jobs.

But it’s brilliant to see that Kate, as patron of the 1851 Trust, is aiming to bring about a re-birth in the engineering field in Portsmouth and get children motivated and inspired by the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Add to this the fact that the city will soon get its very first University Technical College, at the Trafalgar School site in Hilsea, which is also aimed at getting pupils involved in engineering and science, and it really is fantastic news for the region and its prospects.

These are hopefully steps which will give businesses even more confidence to stay here and employ the next generation of engineers, scientists and sailors.

They should also enthuse young people to take up careers in these fields.

Meanwhile, Kate’s presence has added further weight to the message that this is a city that is aiming to go places and has high aspirations (such as wanting to secure a five-star hotel).

While much has been said about the Ben Ainslie Racing complex in Old Portsmouth, it appears that the organisation is striving to be a force for good and to leave a lasting legacy.

That will come as a relief to those who wonder whether it’s just a short-term home for Sir Ben Ainslie before he goes on to pastures new after the America’s Cup challenge is over.

This is a chance to celebrate all that is good about Portsmouth and the profile it is building, both nationally and internationally.

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