Portsmouth ARTches project put on hold by America’s Cup

ON HOLD An artist's impression of the ARTches project in Old Portsmouth
ON HOLD An artist's impression of the ARTches project in Old Portsmouth

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THE creation of an arts and crafts quarter in Portsmouth has been put off until after the summer.

Plans have already been approved to turn 13 of the arches at Point Battery in Old Portsmouth into art studios for students – known as the ARTches project.

The BAR building work is still going on, it’s getting too close to start a project and it seems sensible to wait until after the America’s Cup.

Councillor Linda Symes, Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport

Concerns were raised building work and hoardings would go up during the America’s Cup World Series in July – blocking viewing points and tourist attractions and making the area look an eyesore.

But the city council has assured no construction will happen until after the sailing spectacle to ensure no disruption is caused.

ARTches project manager Claire Looney said in an email to councillors and other interested parties: ‘I can confirm that the works will not start on the ARTches site until after the summer.

‘I can also confirm that there will be no hoardings placed around the site until this time.

‘Therefore the use of this area will be totally unimpeded by any works on the ARTches project throughout the America’s Cup events.’

She added: ‘As the lead officer for the liaison with Team Origin, the America’s Cup World Series event organisers, I’m only too well aware of the need to be showcasing the city in the best possible way and can assure you that every effort is being made to achieve this so Portsmouth can achieve the most when the eye of the media will be on the city.’

Councillor Linda Symes, Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said it was sensible.

‘We have to take all factors into consideration,’ she said.

‘The Ben Ainslie Racing building work is still going on.

‘It’s getting too close to start a project and it seems sensible to wait until after the America’s Cup.

‘We will have lots of tourists and we need the area not to start looking like a construction site.’

The bulk of the ARTches project has been funded by a £1.75m grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, and a further £100,000 has been pledged by the council.