OCEAN racing legend Alan Priddy has dismissed Portsmouth’s dreams of securing a five-star hotel – saying a lack of quality shops, poor roads and political differences are bringing the city down.
The Team Britannia principal believes Portsmouth needs to step up and improve if it wants to attract luxury accommodation for elite spenders.
There has to be a lot of other draws that come with it - a high-quality shopping offer and a far better transport system. Gone are the days where you can build a gold-plated hotel and call it a five-star offer. Portsmouth is not there yet.Portsmouth ocean racing legend Alan Priddy
He says the Pyramids Centre should be ‘demolished’ to make way for a five-star complex as that’s the only site good enough for such a development – an idea mooted by Portsmouth’s Labour group during council spats in recent years over the amount of taxpayers’ cash poured into the seafront leisure attraction.
Cultural leaders now admit the prospect of landing a five-star hotel is a ‘bridge too far’.
Speaking to The News, Mr Priddy said: ‘I don’t think Portsmouth is ready for a five-star hotel.
‘At the moment, it doesn’t have enough around it to support a five-star offering.
‘There have to be a lot of other draws that come with it – a high-quality shopping offer and a far better transport system.
‘Gone are the days when you could build a gold-plated hotel and call it a five-star offer. Portsmouth is not there yet. We should demolish the Pyramids and build a hotel there instead.
‘The seafront is the ideal place, what with the gardens around there and the common. I can’t see a five-star hotel at a place like The Hard. There’s still a level of aggro in that area.
‘And when you go further north in the city, it has a badge of violent behaviour.
‘But places like Palmerston Road, Osborne Road and Marmion Road are niche areas that all add up to five-star.’
He added: ‘The people of Portsmouth have a lot to offer, but it’s bogged down with political silliness. The in-fighting is not allowing things to move forward as they should.’
The comments come despite hopes, revealed this year by Tory council leader Cllr Donna Jones, to turn the the wardroom of HMS Nelson into a five-star hotel. Plans to transform the Sally Port Inn, in Old Portsmouth, into a boutique hotel were recently turned down following concerns over its impact on residents.
Tory culture boss Cllr Linda Symes said: ‘We could have a hotel with a five-star element, that would probably be the way to go. The potential of an actual five-star hotel would be a bridge too far.
‘We don’t have 360 degrees reach, only 180, because we have the sea. We don’t have the area around us conducive to bringing in people from all areas.’