Sunday, December 7, 1997 Published at 15:07 GMT
Britannia poised for home sail
The 44-year-old Britannia looks set to sail homeward bound to Clydeside
Promoters of a plan to bring the Royal Yacht Britannia back to Glasgow, the city where she was built, have given a cautious welcome to reports that their plan is the one favoured by the British Government.
The plan to make the yacht the centrepiece of a heritage museum was said by the Sunday Times newspaper to be the favourite of nine options now being considered.
"We await the Government's announcement with interest," a spokesman for the Clyde Heritage Trust said. "We have always believed Clydeside has the best case."
The trust, headed by Sir Robert Calderwood, chief executive of the former Strathclyde Regional Council, is aiming for the yacht to be the dry-docked centrepiece of a maritime heritage park in Glasgow.
It estimates that the scheme could create 600 jobs and attract around 350,000 visitors a year.
The Sunday Times said ministers met after The Princess Royal made a suggestion that the yacht should be scuttled in order to maintain the vessel in pristine condition.
Ministers ruled out scuttling the yacht as a "waste" which could cause public "outrage".
A rival bid from Portsmouth to use it as a tourism and conference centre is also said to be under serious consideration.
Of the total of nine bids for the yacht, three involve London. But there is opposition to choosing London as Britannia's final resting place because of the potential reaction from other parts of the country.
Other bids include a plan by the Ministry of Sound nightclub to turn it into a floating music school. The idea is said to have attracted little enthusiasm among ministers.
The newspaper said a decision could be made this week, as some ministers want an announcement to coincide with Britannia's decommissioning ceremony.