THE path has been cleared for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup race base to operate in Portsmouth.
The details of the lease Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) is to hold on the Camber site has now been signed off with landowner Portsmouth City Council.
It’s a great deal; it works for BAR, it works for the city council and hopefully it will work for Portsmouth.Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development
BAR will not be required to pay anything to the authority for the first 10 years, so long as it keeps pushing forward with its ambition for the America’s Cup to come to Portsmouth.
After 10 years, regardless of whether it continues to push forward with the cup intention, BAR must pay the council £110,000 a year in rent.
Construction of the base is well underway and it is expected to open in May, ahead of the America’s Cup World Series off Portsmouth’s shores from July 23 to 26.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, signed off the deal and said it was a good arrangement for all involved.
He said BAR has been allowed to pay nothing for 10 years given the pressures on new businesses to make money – and the fact Sir Ben will provide a huge economic boost to the city.
‘It’s a great deal; it works for BAR, it works for the city council and hopefully it will work for Portsmouth,’ Cllr Stubbs said.
‘If you look at the America’s Cup event being held this year, it will generate a lot of publicity and interest in Portsmouth.
‘That has a value in itself, and I am pleased to have signed off the deal.’
Cllr Stubbs added the contract will also help the council recoup the £1m it never got from the government cleaning up the Camber to accommodate BAR.
Lib Dem planning spokesman, Cllr Ben Dowling, said: ‘It’s positive news the lease has been agreed, and it’s a step towards bringing the America’s Cup to Britain.’
But he said more clarification was needed over what would constitute BAR giving up its America’s Cup ambitions.
The lease on the Camber site is initially for 25 years, but there is an option for it to be extended to 50 years.
Tickets for the world series’ Waterside Festival Arena on the main race days have sold out and tickets for the official Fanzone Arena are going fast.