Sir Ben eyes up expansion of his empire

The Ben Ainslie base in Old Portsmouth
The Ben Ainslie base in Old Portsmouth
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IT IS the jewel in the city’s crown and now Land Rover BAR is looking to expand its empire in Portsmouth.

Ben Ainslie’s team are set to pull in between 30 to 40 new jobs via a new manufacturing base in the area.

The move follows the success of its £15m base in Old Portsmouth and the back-to-back victories in the Portsmouth America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016.

Andy Hindley, the team’s chief finance officer, told The News that locations across the city, in Portchester and Fareham are being scoured for the new hub.

He said: ‘We are looking to expand our operations in the area and we’d like to have a manufacturing base closer to home.

‘It’s about allowing us to manufacture more parts here in the area rather than bringing them in from elsewhere.

‘We are actively looking at sites at the moment with the aim to move in by August.’

He added that the location would need to have around 20,000 to 30,000sq ft of space and ruled out the team building its own new base.

He added: ‘We’re keen not to have to build it ourselves.’

One of the locations looked at was Northarbour Road in Cosham.

Other visits are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council welcomed the news, suggesting Sir Ben and the team should look at Daedalus as a potential site.

He said: ‘Sir Ben would be most welcome to Fareham and an ideal site would be Daedalus which would suit marine engineering.’

The size of the building would be about half of the size of the giant Tesco Extra superstore in Fratton.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of the city council, also welcomed the news.

He said: ‘I think this is really excellent news in terms of job growth for the local economy.

‘Land Rover BAR is an nationally and internationally well-known company and it’s great to see their support for the industry, particularly in light of the fact that this will maintain the skill force of the area in relation to marine engineering.

‘This will help inspire young people looking at their careers to know that there is a potential future for them in this industry.

‘It’s great to have them here in Portsmouth.’

The revelation has given added weight to hopes that Portsmouth will remain a permanent fixture of the America’s Cup World Series.

The city’s culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes, said that any plan to build a new manufacturing base for Land Rover BAR was a good thing for Portsmouth.

And she said the added interest in the island would help propel Portsmouth’s bid to become the nation’s new city of culture.

Cllr Symes said: ‘The city is really buzzing right now.

‘The council welcomes anything that helps that helps keeping joblessness down.

‘So if it brings jobs into Portsmouth then that’s great.’