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Countdown to 2012 in Dorset

You are in: Dorset > Places > Countdown to 2012 in Dorset > Weymouth and Portland's Olympic challenge

Sailing off Portland

Sailing off Portland

Weymouth and Portland's Olympic challenge

As developments begin, Weymouth and Portland are facing an Olympic challenge: to be ready for the world's top yachtsmen, and the thousands of fans who will come to watch them.

"The developers want to build fancy apartment blocks – they’re not interested in meeting local needs."

Barry Yeomans, Weymouth barber

There are just five years to go before the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy hosts the sailing events for the 2012 Games. Consultations are coming to an end, developers are moving in and changes will soon be irreversible.

But will the changes benefit local people? Jacqui Gisborne of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council thinks so.

She says: "People might be scared of change, but they just need to realise the opportunities. Tourism is our biggest earner, and the Olympics will bring a surge of people to the area.

"These visitors will want to stay in expensive hotels. They'll also want to shop and eat out. It can only benefit local businesses."

'Fancy apartment blocks'

But Barry Yeomans, a barber in Weymouth, disagrees: "I've had customers telling me that they've had notes through the door asking if they're prepared to sell their houses.

Ocean View

Designs for luxury flats on Portland

The developers want to build fancy apartment blocks – they're not interested in meeting local needs. These changes will bring in people who've got money and price the locals out."

Weymouth and Portland will host the sailing events, based around the National Sailing Academy at Osprey Quay on Portland, which was developed from the old naval station.


But the whole area will be transformed with a new marina and luxury seafront apartments on Portland, a £100 million Pavilion and ferry terminal in Weymouth and a multi-million pound relief road. 

There are also plans to build Weymouth's first 4 star hotel.

The announcement that Britain had won the bid, in July 2005, was greeted with wild celebrations in Weymouth and Portland. 

But the initial cheers have given way to deeper concerns about whether the changes are sustainable – and whether they'll benefit local residents.

'A new lease of life'

Miles Butler, Dorset County Council director, recently told the House of Commons that "Weymouth suffers from being at the end of a cul-de-sac.

"We have not yet seen evidence that the needs in our area are being given the same attention as the events in London."

Jacqui is keen to stress that the new facilities won't lie empty once the Olympics are over: "When the Navy left Portland, there wasn't much going for Portland.

"The new Sailing Academy has brought us a new lease of life."

last updated: 17/04/2008 at 13:42
created: 10/01/2007

Have Your Say

Are the Olympics good for Weymouth and Portland?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

katie doctor
i'd love the 2012 sailing olympics to be taking place in portland and weymouth although i do think we should try and make weymouth a cleaner and a nicer place before they come as some the sights are beautiful but are being ruined by building reinforcements (flats) and the amount of dog mess that is hanging around the place what gives an unpleasant appearance! Me and me friend kayleigh hopkins both go to a rowing club every once a week and we look forward to be able to participate in the future.

kayleigh hopkins
i loved the last olympics as i hope to be able to do something useful myself in the future. I absouloutely adore the rowing i club to a club every once a week and i hope to be able to acheive something. I look forwards to having the 2012 sailing olympics in Weymouth.

Anne Jessel
Yes, I think the Olympics are good for the area although shop assistants need courses on customer relationships. Being a sportsperson I visited the Sailing Academy and was impressed, but then I had the unfortunate experience of being guided to a nearby store to get a few groceries. I was appalled at the treatment I received when reaching the check out. I thought the lady of mature years was having a bad day and as I was packing away my goods after asking "may I have a bag" meaning a recyclable one a flimsy one was flung over my groceries whilst the dictatorial commands were issued re. price and card etc. I realised that I'd been segregated regarding the treatment I received by the obvious difference in the treatment of the next customer. I was disgusted and before the Olympics come to to town lets hope that there will be a change of staff, or some table manners have been learned. I don't think I'll shop there again when I next visit.

i think tge olympics is great for weymouth and portland but the new building development will destroy portlands charactor and looks.

yes great the olympics are coming to weymouth whoopy. as a resident of weymouth am i going to be paying through the nose for everything? £20 an ice cream in my own town...cant wait!! maybe we could have some decent FREE play areas for kids?? people live here its not all about tourist..will most of weymouth still be boarded up in the winter?? kids are so bored in weymouth and i dont blame them,no wonder they turn into yobs...

As a Portlander I think it will be a great opportunity to revamp Portland in the nicest possible way. I have a wonderful sea view but my environment is marred by the excessive amount of dog mess that is always outside my front door and on the paths down to chesil beach. The wire fences are a disgrace and health hazard as they are pulled away from rotting posts and just flap in the wind!! The open areas need tending by council gardeners... I can go on. At the moment I feel embarrassed to think thousands of extra visitors will see our run down Portland. W and P council please invest some money in Portland.

I have mixed veiws about the olympics coming to Portland, being born and bred here I have seen some major changes to the island, some good and some really bad but the olympics is a fantastic way for adults and children alike who will have an opportunity to experience what is sure to be a great event, but portland needs a facelift expecially fortuneswell which as a child used to be a thriving little place, now its just a dirty eyesore with no community spirit and a place you dont go after dark because of the trash that hang around. There is alot of focus on state of the art apartments and new developments (the old MOD ground being one of them)where the fat cats get fatter but portland does not start and end at the sailing academy and as for the traffic, as Mr Monks points out, there is only one way on and off and as a regular commuter off the island for work its hell come summer or winter so god help us when the olympics come, you aint seen nothing yet!!!

Has anyone walked along the front of the Helicopter walk lately, it is a disgrace bags of dog poo put in piles and lights smashed a lovely sight for visitors to see. We have asked for dog bins to be put there but apparently Wemouth & Portland Council cannot afford them. Two coaches of visitors walked along there two weeks ago I hate to think what they thought of the area. We have aDog Warden I think what is he/she doing. I know there is a lot of building work being done and there is mess but not the mess we see. A stone saying 'take it home' was put there but if you are on holiday you cann't.Watch the difference in 2012.

Jadie Myatt
i think that having the Olympics in Weymouth will be really good as the tourism will improve and will have more things to do. I live the Olypics and i live in Weymouth so i will be able to watch the sailing events and enjoy them for myself.

George Scott
The olympics coming to weymouth and portland is massive for the popularity and the tourism of the towns. As a child of weymouth i think that it will be a brilliant chance for young people to get involved with the olympics

Of course the Olympics are fantastic news for Weymouth and Portland. There are the usual complainers who would complain about anything that may bring any change to the area. We desperately need this regeneration and need to get rid of the minority of wasters who spend their giros on cigs and cheap cider then spoil the area for the rest of us. Fortuneswell inparticular needs a kick up the preverbial, the co-op is a disgrace to the place and the paper shop is just as bad, they are a constant source of litter and the outside appearance is no better than a derelict building! Get a grip and take pride in your appearance, don't keep taking without giving a bit in return.

R. Jacobs
An improvement to facilities are welcome but not at the cost of important habitats.

its the bst thing eva

I live on Portland and yes Im estatic that we have been given the chance to hold the olympics although im a little pesimistic abot the whole terrorist aspect! but thats just paranoia or is it? :/I've told the parents to go on holiday and rent our house out on 2012! Its a chance to make money! I love portland and love living here! but FORTUNESWELL definately needs a reboot...they are the first building our tourists will see on their way up to Portland and it isnt a pretty site! and by the way not all of the teenagers get drunk and vandalise everything we see im 17 i go to 6thform study law,business and sociology and I also have a job! as do my friends! Perhaps a building could be built/used to allow kids a chance to show what a difference they could make in sport! we hav the sailing academy! But if you want to get rid of all of the 'drunk' teenagers then do something for them rather then judge them before hand!xxkimixxbring in 2012

Jacqui Hamla
As a world heritage area, I would have thought that there were more restrictions about what could be done in the area. I do not live in Weymouth, but feel that it is my second home as I visit 5/6 times a year. If developers are allowed to build expensive and what looks like, out of place developments, they will spoil the whole atmosphere of Weymouth and Portland. It will end up being another Poole, where only people with money will go, and the 'natives' and 'adopted natives' will be forced out by upmarket, overpriced facilities.

It seems that everytime someone has an idea to improve weymouth and portland there is some official claiming doom and gloom. is there noone big enough say lets go for it. if it doesn't work at least we've tried. after all what we have now isn't all good. you only have to look at the esplanade..... old fashioned, a mess, homeless and chavs grouping. No where to sit outdoors in the evening on the sea front and enjoy the views with a drink or a meal. Portland is a beautifull place why not give more people the chance to appreciate it.

its great for the future of the local econemy but the problems could be transport

Robin Daglish
I think the Olympics will be good for Weymouth and Portland as long as government money is available to stop our council being held ransom by property speculators. The pavilion development is a disgrace, its going ahead despite massive local opposition and the backdrop to the yatch racing will be high-rise appatments on the pier.

Brian Crouch
Yes the Olympics will be good for Portland and Weymouth but will the local residents be contributing excessive sums of money in their council taxes as will be the case in London?

The olympics are great, it will be good for all the fish to be the only ones to see it in Weymouth unless you have a boat. It just a way of ruin Weymouth sea front and for some people to make as much money as they can . Weymouth has a lot to offer now you just got to look, You don't need big apartment block to ruin the best part of weymouth . THE VIEW

Another Local
I think this is a blessing for the area which i think many of us know is over run with vanduals and boozing youths with no jobs or commitment to doing anything else then causing problems for other residents and holiday makers to the area , with the improvments there will be more jobs in the local area , not to mention the knock on effect of tourisum , and also the improvment of facilities for the community.

david monks
having the sailing events on portland will be disastrous for the traffic problem as there is only 1 road in/out of portland.its bad enough every summer with all the tourists driving at 30-40 miles an hour on portland beach road in a 60 mph speed limit road and holding up all the traffic plus all the buses blocking the road because the road is not wide enough to overtake so i dread to think what it will be like in 2012.remember what i said theres only 1 road into portland so i will take 3 weeks holiday away from dorset in 2012


i think the olympics would be a good idea but i dont think they should build great big apartment blocks because they would ruin the lovely scenery we have.

There is always one moaner and this time its Bazza. Mate you could of said the same when the old Navy facilities were made. Even if they did change the tide systems at the time did the silt build up caused my their construction end up on Weymouth beach? No is the answer. End of argument Bazza.

Alice Miles
I think the Olympics will be really good for this area. It's really exciting that in 2012 millions of people will be looking at us, here in Weymouth. Let's stop complaining and show how much we've got to offer to the rest of the world.

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