Portsmouth City Council has been landed with a £1.4m bill for the Ben Ainslie Racing HQ in the Camber dock according to Freedom of Information Act figures obtained by the local newspaper.
The final cost to the council for bringing BAR in – which takes into account the need to rehome Johnson’s fish market and Ken Brown Boats – was £1.4m. The council had thought that the government would pick up all costs.
But Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs questioned the figure, and believes it is closer to the £1m mark. Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Gerald Vernon-Jackson (former Lib Dem council leader) should have secured a better deal in the first place.
‘We had taken steps to try and get some of this money back, which is why BAR will be paying rent from year 10, rather than year 25 of their lease as previously agreed.’
The government awarded BAR £7.5m to set up base in Portsmouth to mount its America’s Cup challenge, but did not factor in money for the council as part of the deal.
The council’s senior valuation surveyor admitted, as part of FOI responses to locla paper, The News, that the spending on the Camber clean-up was ‘authorised at risk’. No record was kept of the time officers spent on the BAR development.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Blaming everyone doesn’t work. If we had not wanted BAR to come to Portsmouth, we should not have said yes and it would have gone to Southampton.’
more info ……………………. portsmouth.co.uk