ASSURANCES have been made that the best deal was secured by Portsmouth City Council to enable Ben Ainslie Racing to operate its sailing base.
The council, the owner of the Camber site which is being turned into the America’s Cup headquarters, has agreed BAR does not have to pay any rent for the first 10 years of its lease provided it pushes forward with its America’s Cup ambitions.
After that, BAR must pay the council £110,000 a year in rent. The lease on the site is initially for 25 years, but there is an option for it to be extended to 50 years.
Despite coming under criticism for not trying to secure money right away, Portsmouth’s Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs says it was the best deal the council could get. He said: ‘My hands were tied by the Lib Dems who previously agreed a peppercorn rent for 25 years.
‘Any variation of those terms required the acceptance of both parties.
‘The trade-off is money in 10 years’ time in exchange for a longer lease. That was the best deal available.
‘I know many people wanted money now – as did I – but that was never available.
‘Had I held out for more, BAR would have signed the 25-year deal already offered and then hoped to have secured changes later.’
Construction of the base is well under way and it is expected to open in May ahead of the America’s Cup World Series off Portsmouth’s shores this summer.