I do not see this as a reason to deviate in any way from our plans as a city.
We must continue to cultivate our relationship with Southampton and continue our dedication to developing our own cultural offer.
Above all, the awareness of just how much Portsmouth has to offer to its people and our many thousands of visitors is fundamental.
The Culture Partnership has grown to be an effective force, most recently forming a company limited by guarantee to deliver the new Southsea Show in August.
In addition, the Historic Dockyard team will be leading the venues with programming around the D-Day and First World War commemorations in 2014, working with our partners in seafront management and events to ensure a full and interesting programme.
The listings in G2 [The News’s monthly free entertainment guide] are now approaching their second anniversary and CP members are committed to sponsoring issues to the end of the year.
We will be looking to get even wider distribution and awareness of G2 over the coming months, now The News has moved to 1000 Lakeside.
We have recently celebrated the opening of the £35m Mary Rose Museum, which aims to double visitor numbers to the world-class Historic Dockyard and a new gallery opens at their National Museum of The Royal Navy next year. What a huge asset this will be to the city as a whole.
The Wedgewood Rooms and The Cellars continue to fight to bring touring shows for all ages to the city, without any public subsidy and in a challenging marketplace.
Both venues have teamed up with Andy Grays at the Guildhall to begin to develop an Access to Music programme to better engage young people in the business of music, focusing on off-stage skills.
This fits perfectly with the work already taking place at The Kings Theatre and New Theatre Royal around off-stage skills. Let’s make Portsmouth a beacon for Cultural Apprenticeships!
The Mountbatten Centre is a first-class sports facility with an Olympic-sized pool, attracting 1m visitors a year and we should remember that Wimbledon Park and the Watersports Centre also attract big numbers of visitors.
There are so many exciting things still to come: the new Arts Quarter around the Hot Walls, increased hotel provision to cater for increased visitor numbers and the huge potential for a Sherlock Holmes experience, which would be a further enticement to the global tourist market to come to Portsmouth.
There are serious challenges ahead, as funding cuts continue to threaten a sector which employs one in eight people in our city. Making sure that every single one of our politicians understands the enormous economic impact which culture and leisure bring to our city must always be a priority.