The construction of 171 berths at Millbay Marina will begin this autumn after developer Sutton Harbour Holdings completed lease arrangements.

Work at King Point Marina has been given the go-ahead with the company signing the Agreement for Lease with the Homes and Communities Agency and English Cities Fund (ECf). It is expected that the development will be ready in time for the 2013/14 season and the buildings will be promoted at the upcoming Southampton Boat Show.

The new marina will be the crown jewel in the ECf's renovation of around 20 acres of the former Plymouth dockside.

Jason Schofield, chief executive of Sutton Harbour Holdings, said: "This is an exciting project which will bring a modern, first class marina berthing facility to Plymouth, which is at the centre of the South West's excellent sailing waters.

"King Point Marina will extend our existing operation of high quality marina facilities at Sutton Harbour and the additional berthing fees will provide for future growth in visible recurring revenue streams and profit. The company has significantly streamlined its operations in recent years and this important new project is very much part of our clear strategy to focus on marine activities and the regeneration of waterfront destinations."

Duncan Cumberland, development director for Muse Developments, which is a partner of the ECf, added that this construction work could prove to be the catalyst for the wider mixed use development of the heart of Millbay.

He went on to say that the goal is to get more people down to Millbay in the future and kick-start waterfront activity.

Sheltered berths will be provided for vessels from five to 25 metres in length, while a two-storey building will also house showers, toilets and amenity areas.

The development could prove to be popular among sailors if four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie has anything to do with it.

The 35-year-old picked up a gold medal at London 2012 last Sunday (August 5th) and he encouraged others to give sailing a try.

"We should do something to get more people into the sport and really make the most of the opportunity we've got with sailing being one of our top sports," he added.

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