Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Yachting centre for Olympic town

Artist's impression of the new RYA building
The RYA building will include a bar and dining area with harbour views

Plans have been announced for a 4m new training base for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in west Dorset ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

It will be the first step of the 30m Castle Court leisure development to be built on eight acres (3.2 hectares) of derelict land next to Portland Castle.

Facilities will be built for sailors preparing for the 2012 sailing event, being held in Weymouth and Portland.

The centre will provide an all-year-round base for RYA members and clubs.

The Castle Court development is being built on land owned by The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).

Hundreds of jobs

It acquired the site after the Royal Naval Air Station closed in 1999 with the loss of 800 jobs.

The new 30m development will feature shops, restaurants, apartments and a hotel and could create 600 jobs on the site, the SWRDA said.

It will also offer leisure activities both on and off the water around Weymouth and Portland, including sailing, rock climbing, diving, walking and fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast.

The facility will support the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events at the nearby Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy at Osprey Quay.

Work on the RYA centre will start in January and be completed next autumn, the RYA said.

Simon Hiscocks, double Olympic sailing medallist, said: "I think it will be a huge asset to Weymouth and Portland and play a major role supporting the sailing events up to and including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and thereafter."

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