Ineos Britannia, bankrolled by billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe of the Ineos Chemicals Group, was based at The Camber in Old Portsmouth.
The £12m site was purpose built for Sir Ben’s team and has been home to Sir Ben’s Americas Cup team since 2014.
The building was given the go-ahead on Portsmouth City Council land with a government cash grant of £6.5m in capital funding plus £1m for revenue costs. The council agreed a rent-free period of 10 years, subject to the building being used for the Americas Cup. This rent-free period is now at an end with Sir Ben now having to find £110,000.00 per year for rent.
Set close to the harbour entrance, Camber Dock is the site of Portsmouth’s oldest commercial docks. Commercial ships have been landing goods at the town that grew up around the Camber Docks since the owner of a fleet of merchant ships, Jean de Gisors, decided in approximately 1180, that the sheltered harbour at the Camber was the ideal place to start a town from which he could trade with Normandy.
The entire project has been a source of controversy since its inception, with some councillors and residents arguing that Portsmouth Council had “given” the land to Ben Ainslie.
A group of long-time local residents were also unhappy that the new building would restrict their access to the Camber. It is claimed by the council that the route was not a public right of way as it was not included on the definitive map and statement – a document that records all rights of way in the city, but it appears that the only copy of the map was lost several years ago.
Portsmouth councillors feel let down and say that the city moved heaven and earth to accommodate Sir Ben and his team.
The Americas Cup team has been based in Portsmouth for the last two America’s Cup campaigns and the people of Portsmouth have been fantastically proud of Sir Ben and his team.
The city is now just one of several places on a ‘list of potential locations’ for Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben’s race ambitions. A decision has not yet been made and Sir Ben has said there are several potential locations with Portsmouth still firmly on the list.
BAR Technologies and the charity, the 1851 Trust remain based in the Camber building, with approximately 100 (plus) employees and suppliers working on-site along with two arrivals.
The building at The Camber in Old Portsmouth has been sublet to Subsea Craft and Nexus IFA – a firm of financial advisers.