Plan to create a Portsmouth Maritime Academy at HMS Nelson wardroom

The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

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The leader of Portsmouth City Council has urged ministers to back a plan to turn the wardroom at HMS Nelson into a new Portsmouth Maritime Academy.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson has written to the government to call for the facility to be opened at the wardroom in Queen Street, Portsea.

It comes in the wake of the closure of BAE Systems’ shipbuilding operations in the city.

The proposal, which has the backing of the Local Economic Partnership, would see the navy’s wardroom facilities moved to the former Navy Academy within the walls of the base.

This would free up the building opposite HMS Nelson in Queen Street to be transformed into a maritime skills academy.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This would have a significant impact in driving up the skills of local people and creating the workforce needed to take advantage of opportunities within the maritime industries.

‘The perfect location would be the wardroom of HMS Nelson, which is situated adjacent to the naval base.

‘It is a beautiful building but sits outside the security cordon and the conclusion of several recent naval base commanders is that it would be operationally more efficient to relocate the facility within the dockyard wall.’

The council leader’s letter was sent to defence secretary Philip Hammond, minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon, business secretary Vince Cable, and business minister David Willetts.