UPDATE: Greenwich Tall Ships regatta cost estimate trebles to 'disgraceful' £500,000 (From News Shopper)
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UPDATE: Greenwich Tall Ships regatta cost estimate trebles to 'disgraceful' £500,000
ESTIMATED costs for next year's Tall Ships regatta in Greenwich have soared to a "disgraceful" £500,000 - nearly three times the council's previous estimate.
Critics have slammed the news, saying the event will have no impact for people elsewhere in the borough.
One reason for the increase have been given as the need to attract large 'Class A' ships, beating off competition from a Black Sea regatta, the Winter Olympics and 2014 World Cup.
So far, 18 ships have signed up to the Falmouth to Greenwich regatta, of which two are Class A.
However, to accommodate the larger vessels, capacity will need to be expanded.
This is reliant on a £2.1m project forward funded by the council to extend Woolwich pier and build a new one from Cutty Sark Gardens - the first phase of a boardwalk between the New Capital Quay development and Dodd’s Wharf.
Financial negotiations will also have to take place with Victoria Deep Water Terminal for ships to dock there, along with the use of Enderby Wharf.
The council will also foot the bill for berthing, pilots - costing £600 per hour - and tugs where ships need assistance, along with facilities like toilets and showers.
A previous £175,000 cost estimate had been expected to be offset by sponsorship and merchandise.
As previously reported in News Shopper, Greenwich Council leader Councillor Chris Roberts has made two trips ahead of the Greenwich event - a £10,000 visit to Toulon, France, with costs covered by the local authority's tourism company, and a £5,500 trip to Riga.
Greenwich Conservatives leader Councillor Spencer Drury said: "I think we are literally paying the price for the slapdash estimate of £175,000 in April this year as even the half a million they are planning on allocating to the event now has the feeling of a rough estimate.
"I find it disgraceful that when council tenants are sitting in damp homes and the cabinet members plead poverty over speed tables in my ward, they think it is acceptable to allocate £500,000 to this event which will have absolutely no impact on a large part of the borough.
"Residents in Eltham often wonder why they pay council tax, but here we have an answer, so tall ship crews can have WiFi where they dock."
- News Shopper is awaiting a response from Greenwich Council
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