PLANS for a 560-berth marina and new facilities at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for the 2012 Olympics have been lodged.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) submitted applications to build a new permanent slipway, more race-boat parking, and lifting and mooring facilities at the academy at Osprey Quay.

The facilities will be used during and after the 2012 Olympic Games when the centre will host sailing competitions.

Construction work is due to be completed by the end of 2008, meaning that Weymouth and Portland will be one of the first venues ready for the 2012 Games.

Developer Dean & Reddyhoff has also submitted planning applications for a new 560-berth commercial marina at Osprey Quay.

Some 250 berths will be used during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The marina will include retail and industrial units.

Lord Sebastian Coe, who is chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: "This scheme will transform Weymouth from an existing top-class venue into a world-class training and competition venue equipped to stage further major international sailing events and competitions after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"The enhancements will also provide new opportunities and facilities to enable people from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities to experience the thrill of sailing. This will leave a legacy of elite and recreational sailing for future generations."

The plans were displayed at an exhibition last month.

The three-day event gave people the chance to comment on the proposals. It was attended by more than 300 people.

Bruce Voss, who is head of operations at the South West of England Regional Development Agency, said: "These plans are a prime example of how we can deliver economic growth, within environmental limits.

"The planning applications promote improved facilities for sailing and related water sports which have low environmental impact that can sit comfortably in the high-quality natural environment surrounding Osprey Quay.

"Once consented, this multi- million investment will bring significant economic benefits to South Dorset and the wider region."

The waters off Weymouth and Portland have been hailed as the best for sailing in northern Europe.

The sailing academy has also been labelled as the finest training and competition venue in Europe.