by Sara Quick
Portland Marina - 250 berths of which will be used by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in 2012
As Great Britain’s Olympic sailors storm ahead in Qingdao, back here in Dorset work on part of the venue for the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games is also moving at a rate of knots, with the start of construction on the £7.1m marina shoreside development.
Bournemouth-based construction company G&H Group has now moved onto the Portland Marina site, working for developer and operator Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas. Over the next nine months they will bring the landward element of the Portland Marina scheme into existence, constructing 15 business/retail units, 5 large commercial units, a bar/restaurant, marina facilities building, 470-space car park and boat storage area.
Work on the marina itself – 250 berths of which will be used by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in 2012 – is also on course, with the 875-metre breakwater nearing completion and construction of the hoist dock well underway. The site will be operational from October, when it will open for lift out and winter storage of boats, with the first pontoons to be installed early next year. April 2009 will see the full opening of the marina berths – more than three years ahead of Portland’s involvement in the Games.
In the longer term, the marina development is expected to bring major economic benefits to Weymouth & Portland. The shoreside business and commercial units which are currently under construction, together with the marina itself, are expected to generate over 150 jobs for local people. The redevelopment of the site will also contribute to the wider regeneration of Portland’s Osprey Quay, which is gradually being transformed from a redundant naval base into an attractive destination in its own right.
James Beaver, Operations Director for Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas, said: 'We’re delighted with progress so far on the marina and we have reached an important milestone this week with the start of landward building work. It’s exciting to see the Beijing Games underway and the reality of being part of a future Olympic and Paralympic venue is starting to sink in – our focus now is on making sure the facilities at Portland Marina are of a world class standard to match.'
Mark Allies, Managing Director of G&H Group said 'As a local contractor we have built many projects in and around Weymouth over the last 140 years. We are proud to be constructing such a major scheme in the town and we are extremely excited to be involved with the development of Portland and such a significant Olympic project.'
Tony Bray, area director for the South West RDA, which has been spearheading the regeneration of Osprey Quay since it bought the 33-hectare site in 2000, said: 'The start of work on the shoreside development at Portland Marina is another milestone in unlocking Osprey Quay’s business potential. The mixture of commercial and leisure uses being developed will bring a year-round vibrancy to the waterfront and ensure a lasting legacy well after the 2012 Games.'