Eyes on the prize as Sir Ben’s base bid is submitted

An artist's impression of the proposed headquarters for Ben Ainslie Racing on The Camber in Old Portsmouth
An artist's impression of the proposed headquarters for Ben Ainslie Racing on The Camber in Old Portsmouth

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THE much-anticipated proposals for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup headquarters have been submitted to Portsmouth City Council’s planning department.

Ben Ainslie Racing, the Olympic champion’s team, hopes to start work on the new hub in June this year.

However, the team has said it will not make a final decision on whether it will bring the multimillion-pound investment to the city until the authority’s planners have made a decision.

As The News has previously reported, the team already has planning consent for the building to go ahead at two different sites in Southampton.

The team has told this newspaper it wants to wait for the outcome of the Portsmouth application before making a final decision.

It has applied to construct a three-storey hub costing almost £14m, which will contain a hi-tech boatbuilding, testing and maintenance facility, training and sports science area, research and design areas, accommodation for support services and a visitor centre.

Around 100 construction jobs would be created, with 90 staff including sailors and boat builders then based at the headquarters.

If the World Series Event being proposed by BAR did take place in 2015 and 2016, a further 320 temporary jobs would be created, according to the team.

Concerns have been raised in Old Portsmouth about residential parking.

Tony Davenport, chairman of Spice Island Association and of the Old Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays Neighbourhood Forum committee, said members want to plans to go ahead but want assurances from the city council.

Mr Davenport said: ‘The general feeling in the area is that this is a great development and there is a lot of enthusiasm but there is a major concern about parking.

‘The ARTches project is another tourist attraction that will bring more people down here.

‘It’s all very well turning Spice Island into a tourist attraction but we need to work something out for the people living here.’

In the plans, the team says it would take up 27 existing parking spaces and provide 68 new ones.

Leader of the authority, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the application was ‘the next step’ for Ben Ainslie Racing.

The Camber land belongs to Portsmouth City Council and would be leased to Ben Ainslie Racing