Despite the great number or world class sailors in the UK, the choice of venues to hold world class events is pretty limited. Cowes on the Isle of Wight has benefited from tradition over infrastructure in the same way that Silverstone managed to hold onto the British Grand Prix. The new Olympic sailing venue, the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), has successfully staged big events already and gives promoters a choice, but there are relatively few cities that have ambitions to stage big events in the UK, much less who have the means.
The new America’s Cup World Series has announced that the UK round will be held in Plymouth. The city has shown that it can deliver good events, but there is also a sense that if the America’s Cup is going to live up to the hype, then significant investment will be required to deliver the visitor experience and ongoing legacy benefits to the local economy.
In order to help fund and deliver the America’s Cup World Series, Plymouth has submitted a bid to the Government to create an Enterprise Zone which ‘capitalises on the city’s marine and renewables and advanced manufacturing strengths.’
The City Council has teamed up with the University of Plymouth, the Chamber of Commerce and the Plymouth Growth Board to set out its bid for an Enterprise Zone that, if given the go-ahead, would be spread across a number of sites in the city.
Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Vivien Pengelly said:
“We all want this city to grow by creating more jobs and opportunities and encourage more people to live and enjoy what this incredible city has to offer. But we need to move away from our reliance on the public sector.”
Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said:
“Plymouth boasts a number of world-class marine research institutions and is well-placed to help lead the development of potential high-growth sectors such as marine, renewable energy, and advanced manufacturing. We are already working in partnership to help diversify both the city’s economy and that of the wider region, and the granting of an enterprise zone would be an important step in making it easier for people to transform research and innovation into success in the market place.”
Chair of the Plymouth Growth Board, Douglas Fletcher:
“For the future we have taken some significant steps to move away from a reliance on public sector and plan to make the most of our strengths in the marine, engineering and renewable sectors. “Creating a sense of confidence and a can-do attitude for people who have great ideas but may not know where to take them is also key for us. “New businesses starting in Plymouth have shown they are able to increase employment. An Enterprise Zone would give the private sector genuine incentives to invest in a location which has solid plans, initiatives and infrastructure for growth and enterprise for the future.”
Professor Julian Beer, Director of Research and Innovation and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth added:
“Although not mutually dependent, the relationship between an Enterprise Zone in Plymouth and its role in a wider far South West Marine Energy Park are strategically linked. The Enterprise Zone would be a key enabler in unlocking and realising the potential of a current site for future usage and help in potentially seizing a globally significant area of competitive advantage.”
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