NEW jobs, a bigger restaurant and a new home for Alex Thomson Racing has all been given the green light at a Gosport marina.
A multi-million pound redevelopment of Haslar Marina has been approved by Gosport Borough Council, with work potentially starting later this year.
The plans, which are expected to create up to 50 new jobs, include a revamped restaurant in the marina, more space for new berth holders and a new home for Alex Thomson Racing – a sailing team which will be competing in the 2020/21 Vendée Globe race.
It is hoped that this investment will secure the future of the marina, while also building a world-class ocean racing facility.
Haslar's marina manager, Ben Lippiett, says excitement is at a peak around the marina.
He said: ‘We’re thrilled that we’ve been given the go-ahead.
‘We feel that the plans respond perfectly to the future demands of our customers for the next 25 years.
‘We’re going to reconfigure the pontoons to attract larger boats, install a floating wave screen pontoon to calm the waves and create a motorboat service centre to take the hassle away from our customers.’
But the customers are not the sole focus of the project – as marina operators Dean and Reddyhoff prepare to give popular local sailor Alex Thomson a permanent base of operations.
‘The purpose of the centre is to not only deliver on his own plans going forward but help him find and nurture the Alex Thomsons of the future,’ said Mr Lippiett.
‘We’re so proud to call Alex Thomson our own – this is his home and that base will really lock him down here, hopefully for many years to come.
‘The creation of new business premises will create up to 50 additional jobs and with the increased activity the spending will increase as well.
‘We’re absolutely delighted with the scheme and the knock-on to the local community is excellent.’
Sections of the redevelopment will be going out to tender in the near future.
Mr Lippiett added: ‘The appetite is very much there to get on with it and deliver on this project for the benefit of our customers and the local community.’