Portsmouth Tour de France business case shows up after Whitehall admin blunder

The start of the Tour de France in July 2014
The start of the Tour de France in July 2014
Victorious Festival on Southsea Common

‘Please don’t drive to Victorious’

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THE business document outlining Portsmouth’s desire to host the Tour de France has now turned up – after the government admitted it had failed to log it properly.

An ‘administrative’ error by Whitehall resulted in the disappearance of the dossier which made the case for £2m to apply to host the Grand Depart in 2019, the same year as the 75th D-Day anniversary.

In future, we should follow these things up because we took it on trust the Tour business case was given to the secretary of state.

Portsmouth Tory culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond filed the city council-prepared report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in September.

At the end of last week DCMS officials insisted they had no record of ever receiving it. But just a day after The News uncovered the fiasco, the department says it’s had a ‘deeper look’ and uncovered the report – two months after the city requested funding and spoke of the potential of reaping £100m worth of benefits with twin town and bid partner Caen.

The blunder means only now will the government start to consider whether the cash will be released.

A DCMS spokesperson said: ‘There was an administrative error and we can confirm that we have received the bid document.

‘Portsmouth is a city with a strong passion for sport and we will consider the detail in the bid document.

‘We have great experience in putting on major sporting events in the UK and are happy to provide assistance where we can to prospective bids.’

City Tory culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes, who has visited France to promote the city, said checks should have been made to ensure the file didn’t go missing.

Cllr Symes said: ‘In future, we should follow these things up because we took it on trust the Tour business case was given to the secretary of state.

‘It teaches you to double-check what you are doing.

‘When you hand something in to a really busy department, it might be an idea to check and make sure it’s received. Even if you just send an email to make sure.’

Tour organiser ASO has yet to choose a host for the 2019 Grand Depart and says it is aware of the city’s interest.

Cllr Symes said: ‘Although 2019 is important to us, to have it at some stage would be good for us.’

Mrs Drummond was unavailable for comment.