EFFORTS are being stepped up to secure government money to pay for Portsmouth’s bid to host the Tour de France in 2019.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond is putting together a letter to culture secretary John Whittingdale requesting cash be coughed up so the city can apply to host the event’s Grand Depart.
This is a matter of all of us in the area adopting a joined up approach.Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond
It comes after Mrs Drummond lobbied cycling minister Robert Goodwill during a speech in parliament for funding.
And she is calling for a ‘joined-up approach’ by Hampshire’s MPs to ensure the government stands up and listens to the region’s demands.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘We need to find out what support is available.
‘There was government support for Yorkshire, so we need to get the same sort of support.’
Yorkshire was awarded £10m towards the £27m cost of hosting the opening leg of the Tour in 2014.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘I am seeking an answer from the cycling minister following my speech in parliament, and I will bring this matter up with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
‘This is a matter of all of us in the area adopting a joined-up approach.
‘It’s something that would be of massive benefit to the whole area.
‘The cyclists would be whizzing out of Portsmouth into the hills around, so it would be affecting lots of different areas.’
Portsmouth council leader Donna Jones has said the city could host the Grand Depart in 2019 to fit in with the 75th anniversary of D-Day. She believes event bosses could be attracted by the prospect of riders heading out of Portsmouth and up to the South Downs, with the next stage along the beaches of Normandy, where troops landed.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth Tory culture boss Linda Symes has backed comments by Cllr Jones stating that the government must provide all funding necessary to make the Tour aspiration happen.
Cllr Symes said: ‘The only way we would could afford this is if government money was used.
‘We can’t cut public services and then put money into a cycling race.
‘In terms of the money it would bring into the city and the economic benefit, it would be amazing.’