Race against time to woo Sir Ben Ainslie to Portsmouth

An artist's impression of the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters that could be built on the Camber in Old Portsmouth.'BAR is looking to set up a base for its America's Cup for 2015.''Picture drawn up by HGP Architects of Fareham PPP-140425-110809001
An artist's impression of the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters that could be built on the Camber in Old Portsmouth.'BAR is looking to set up a base for its America's Cup for 2015.''Picture drawn up by HGP Architects of Fareham PPP-140425-110809001
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THIS is how Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup headquarters could look if it is built in Old Portsmouth.

An exhibition was held yesterday to show some of the ideas being considered for a base in the Camber.

Ben Ainslie Racing already has permission for sites in Woolston and at ABP Docks in Southampton and is looking to put a planning application forward to Portsmouth City Council.

The proposals were shown to residents in a display at the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club in Pembroke Road.

They would incorporate the team’s sailing operations, research and development, boatbuilding, sports science and fitness facilities, along with a visitors centre.

The ideas have been drawn up by Fareham-based HGP Architects, which designed the Spinnaker Tower, Port Solent and the Sails of the South.

Ben Ainslie Racing has stressed it has not made a decision about where its new base will be.

Spokeswoman Sarah Alexander said the decision is still under consideration but the other two sites in Southampton have planning consent or are subject to other planning regulations.

She said: ‘We have to go through the full planning process here so if we do decide to use the Camber Quay as a base, we can start construction immediately.’

In a statement, she said: ‘Planning consent is being sought for the site, so that should the decision be made to progress with the project then they can start as soon as possible.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘They are putting in a planning application in May and I hope that we will make a decision as quickly as we can legally,’ he said.

‘Everybody recognises that it is an enormous opportunity.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson thinks residents’ concerns about parking have been addressed with 100 spaces.

A decision on an £8m bid by the council to the government for the team will be made next month.