Spending £80,000 on Olympic torch relay was ‘value for money’

SUCCESS Bianca Kopp running with the Olympic Torch in Duisburg Way, Portsmouth. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122400-33)
SUCCESS Bianca Kopp running with the Olympic Torch in Duisburg Way, Portsmouth. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122400-33)
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HOSTING the Olympic torch relay cost our communities £80,000.

But civic leaders say the cost was well worth the benefits and attention it brought to our region.

The torch relay travelled through Fareham, Bridgemary and Gosport, with crowds often several people deep lining the entire route, before heading over the water on the ferry to Portsmouth.

Following a massive party on Southsea Common on July 15 that attracted crowds of up to 70,000 – reportedly the largest crowd of the entire relay – it stayed overnight in the city before heading out of Fratton Park on the Monday morning.

The city council spent £56,000 on the celebrations, with Gosport Borough Council spending £20,441 and Fareham Borough Council just £3,522.

Cllr Rob Wood, Lib Dem cabinet member for the city council, said: ‘In terms of the national picture, Portsmouth did itself proud.

‘If you think about the logistics, the policing and the precise level of organisation, then it was definitely money well spent and it was money spent wisely.

‘We’ve also got to give thanks to all the volunteers who helped make it a success.’

Cllr Mark Hook, Gosport’s Tory council leader, said: ‘It was money very well spent.

‘Look at the lift it gave not only our community, but the country as a whole.

‘You only had to look at the tens of thousands who came out to watch it and celebrate.

‘It also had a positive impact on Gosport and the local economy and for the businesses who wouldn’t normally have opened on that day. I’m delighted that Gosport was involved.’

Fareham’s Tory council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘We provided value for money. We had reports of anything up to 20,000 people turning out in Fareham.

‘Our emphasis was on local people and local groups rather than a mega-party, and I think we succeeded in creating a carnival atmosphere.

‘Without exception, the comments I’ve heard back have been overwhelmingly positive.

‘I’ve had shopkeepers say they wish we could have this every weekend.’

WHERE THE MONEY WENT

PORTSMOUTH spent £56,000 on the torch relay, which included fencing, marquees, a large LED screen, trackway for the common, toilets, raised platforms, security, medical cover, road closures, leaflets, PA systems, generators, lighting and radios.

Gosport spent £20,441, which covered toilets, barriers, road signs, posters, some tables and chairs, loudhailer, high visibility jackets for all the stewards, several workshops being held throughout the day, staff costs, first aid, hire of a technical trailer with electrician, PA, mixing desk and fire extinguishers.

Fareham spent £3,522, including staff costs, signs, barriers, equipment hire, water and leaflets.