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What Next For Fort Regent?

The future of Jersey's Fort Regent is unclear, with the previous government's transformation plan now considered unaffordable.

The Infrastructure Minister has called the ambitious project which was unveiled in 2021 'unfeasible in the current economic climate'.

It had included a winter garden, cinema, hotel, casino and bowling alley - to create landmark entertainment venue with lift access from Snow Hill.

We were told it would be able to host concerts, exhibitions and conferences.

 A ten-year 'Future Fort' redevelopment project was unveiled in June 2021.

"The Future Fort plans demonstrate a vision to turn Fort Regent into a cultural and leisure destination, providing activities for Islanders and tourists of all ages to enjoy."   - the then-Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondre, speaking in June 2021.

£8m was initially set aside to begin the first stage of the project, including asbestos removal.   Last February work was going on to remove trees for the creation of the planned botanical garden and walkways.

A planning application was submitted for the lift access from Snow Hill.

We were told the later stages of the project would be partly-funded by private investment.

Sports clubs and concessions continue to be moved out of the Fort while Ministers are said to be drawing up fresh plans for its future use.

39 were operating from there in 2019.  That has dropped to 21 this year and is expected to be just five by 2024.

Earlier this month, it was announced Jersey Special Gymnastics Club would have temporary use of the Fort until the end of 2023.

The previous government had said all clubs would be moved out by September 2023.

Julia Falle, Head Coach of Regent Gymnastics Club, which has been based at the Fort for more than 40 years, says she's been 'left in the dark'.

"We have not been told anything.

We have no notification of dates.  It sounds to me like the goal-posts are moving all the time.  As a club, it is very unsettling for us to be able to plan for our future."

She says the uncertainty means the club is unable to plan for competitions or hold events.

Sports Minister Deputy Lucy Stephenson told Channel 103 this week:

"The timescales for these sports leaving Fort Regent is directly linked to the completion of the construction of expanded facilities elsewhere, and they will continue to be able to use Fort Regent until the new facilities are available.

The work is ongoing and if anticipated dates for the decant change, they will be communicated to the affected sports when they are available."

The 'expanded facilities elsewhere' refers to the ongoing development of Springfield and Oakfield sports centre.

In August 2022, it was announced that the Active gym at Fort Regent was staying open longer than planned because the opening of the new one at Springfield has been delayed by 'at least three months'.

No new re-opening date has yet been given for Springfield gym.

We asked the government for an update and Deputy Stephenson told us:

"Work on the Active gym at Springfield is progressing well and it is anticipated that it will open in the spring. When this is completed the gym at Fort Regent will close."

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