Plans to build a £1 million Olympic sailing park for international teams to prepare are blocked

Plans to create a £1 million Olympic sailing park at Portland Port to help foreign sailors prepare for the 2012 Games have been blocked by the local Council.

The proposal to build training facilities for overseas teams – including American, French and Australian squads, who would be among Britain’s main challengers for medals when Weymouth and Portland hosts the sailing events in 2012 – would have meant demolishing dilapidated buildings on their land, some of which date from the nineteenth century.

The Port does not need permission to build the park, but do from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to get rid of listed buildings, and the Planning Committee refused those consents by a 5-3 vote at a meeting.

The proposal at the former Royal Naval base includes tearing down buildings around the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) building and the Camber basin. The most controversial plan was to demolish the seven-arch viaduct to make way for a ramp. Part of the viaduct was covered with bricks by the Navy so it could be used as stores but the original features lie beneath.

Portland Port development manager Peter Arey said: “The application submitted was for the work we wanted to do, we were quite straight forward with the Council about that. We’re very disappointed.”

“A lot of money and time has been spent on this. We will have to take stock. The matter will be discussed by senior management with a view to what the future move will be.”