Portsmouth support Ben's building

Any worries about the suitability of the America's Cup challenge headquarters that Sir Ben Ainslie wants to build in Old Portsmouth were swept away when the sailing superstar outlined his ideas at a meeting with local residents at Portsmouth Cathedral Monday evening. Supporters were handing out leaflets before the meeting and praise for the plans was met with enthusiastic applause during the meeting.

Huge applause greeted the multi Olympic and World sailing champion and there was no lack of heavyweight support. Veteran round the world sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who lives in Old Portsmouth commented: ‘This is something I think will be very good for the economy. As a resident I’m absolutely delighted.’

The Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, has also come out as backing Sir Ben Ainslie's planning application.

It is believed that the Portsmouth city planners have already advised councillors on the planning committee to approve the designs at a meeting Wednesday.

Figures that suggest around 1,000 jobs could be created and bring £45m to the local economy have been mentioned. But the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), has indicated that the three-storey HQ would have around 90 staff including the sailing team and boat builders based at the headquarters, with further temporary staff depending on requirements.

The building would contain a hi-tech boatbuilding, testing and maintenance facility, training and sports science area, research and design areas, accommodation for support services and a visitor centre.

Sir Ben is leading the British challenge for the 35th America's Cup with a project budget of £80 million.

See Ben Ainslie's America's Cup sailing team