IN LESS than two weeks, Portsmouth’s seafront will be transformed into a setting fit for a sailing spectacle.
And major preparations are now under way to build the race village where spectators will gather to watch the America’s Cup World Series.
Workers are busy constructing a 1,500-seat VIP grandstand near the Southsea bandstand which will form part of the fanzone arena for paying customers.
Over the coming days, 1,000 people are to create the entire visitor site, which will feature a free-to-access waterfront festival arena with a programme of family entertainment.
Fencing stretching 2,800 metres will be put in place as well as 12 bars, 41 food stalls and 650 loos.
Event director Leslie Greenhalgh said: ‘After thousands of planning hours the event build is now in process.
Our advice for those living locally is to leave your car at home and either walk, cycle or use public transport to get around, and our message to visitors coming into the city is use park and ride.Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome
‘It’s fantastic to hear the excitement within the Portsmouth community, after hearing so much about the event over the last 12 months – they now get to watch it physically taking shape.’
Portsmouth City Council has pulled together a traffic masterplan to help ensure roads are not congested.
Visitors are being encouraged to use two park-and-ride sites – off the M275 and at King George V Playing Fields in Cosham – and cycle.
Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome said: ‘We’re experienced in dealing with major events and handling increased traffic, which is why we have a plan to manage the extra visitors to the city.
‘We’ve increased park and ride with over 4,000 spaces, by using additional sites at M275 and Cosham.
‘There is a free shuttle bus service from The Hard to the race village, and we’re working with transport operators to increase their services, and clear signage has also been created so it’s easy to navigate around the city whether you’re on foot or bike.
‘Our advice for those living locally is to leave your car at home and either walk, cycle or use public transport to get around, and our message to visitors coming into the city is “use park and ride”.’
All day parking for both park-and-ride sites costs £4 per car.
Buses will run every few minutes and head straight to race village or Gunwharf Quays.
Free shuttle buses will run from Gunwharf or it’s a 30 minute walk to the action from there.
The last buses back from the race village to the M275 site will be 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 8pm on Sunday. The Cosham bus pick-up is only open on Saturday and Sunday and the last buses back are 1am Saturday and 8pm on Sunday. To pre-book places, visit go.justpark.com/CoshamParking or go.justpark.com/Portsmouth
Up to 2,000 car parking spaces will be available at the race village, but tickets need to be booked in advance.
A day pass costs £12 and the car park will be open from 9am to midnight on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and close at 8pm on Sunday.
The following footpath and cycle closures will be in place; Serpentine Road from July 13 to 31, the promenade from Hovertravel to the east of Southsea Castle from July 23 to July 27, the Brian Kidd Way footpath between Avenue de Caen and Southsea Castle from July 23 to July 27, the path through Southsea Common (from Clarence Parade to Hovertravel) from July 23 to July 27 and both Ladies Mile foot and cycle paths from Clarence Parade to Avenue de Caen from July 23 to July 27.
The only road closure is Clarence Esplanade from Pier Road to Avenue de Caen from July 23 until 8pm on July 27.
If you reach the race village by bike there’s additional cycle parking, with hundreds of spaces available next to the skate park off Avenue De Caen.
Navy to play key role in America’s Cup World Series
THE commander of Portsmouth’s naval base says he can’t wait to see international competitors docked at the facility during the World Series.
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, first confirmed the service would provide support.
Commodore Jeremy Rigby said: ‘It was clear from the very beginning that the only way the UK could offer a winning America’s Cup bid was by making some of the naval base available to host the visiting teams.
‘We are a maritime nation and the Royal Navy continues to be at the heart of protecting and promoting our prosperity on the high seas, so, of course, we have been doing everything we can to help bring this exciting maritime competition to the spiritual home of the Royal Navy, noting the huge benefits it will bring with it to the UK, and Portsmouth in particular.’
HMS St Albans will act as guard ship for the World Series, and her departure from Portsmouth harbour will precede a Parade of Sail of the international racing yachts. During the parade, teams will be flanked by P2000 class Fast Patrol Vessels HMS Dasher and HMS Express.
Two-for-one tickets up for grabs
THE News is working alongside the event organisers to offer an exclusive ticket offer for the Portsmouth Live! concert.
Internationally renowned acts Spandau Ballet, McBusted, Carly Rae Jepsen and Wet Wet Wet will perform at the evening event on Saturday, July 25.
People are being given the opportunity to buy one ticket and get another free.
This applies to both adults and children.
The ticket includes day entry to the Great Waterfront Festival Arena, with entertainment including live America’s Cup racing action, The Red Bull Matadors and The Blades Aerobatic Team, big screens, an RNLI display, moth racing, kite surfing displays and lots more.
Tickets are available through ticketmaster.co.uk/portsmouthlive2for1 or can be purchased in person locally from the following the libraries; Beddow, North End, Southsea, Portsmouth Central and Cosham.