‘Private-investor interest in Fort Regent as mini O2 Arena’

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Deputy Hugh Raymond, who has political responsibility for sport, said ‘every possible avenue’ was being explored for the Fort and that there had been interest from private offshore investors to turn it into a ‘cultural centre’.

The current favoured option, according to the Deputy, is for the total clearance of the venue to be funded by the government, so that a private investor can come in and pay for the transformation of the site.

Major calls to revamp the facility have been made since 1997, followed by various consultations in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2013 and now this year.

Earlier this week the government announced that more than £5 million would be spent on improvements to Springfield and Oakfield sports centres to help move sports clubs away from the Fort. The government has previously told sports organisations operating out of the Fort that they would be relocated, as the centre was no longer viewed as the best venue for many activities.

Deputy Raymond revealed that the Fort was likely to be used more as an entertainment and cultural venue in the future. He said they had had interest from private offshore investors who would like to take over the space.

‘We want to see it used as a cultural venue and I think key to that is a multi-purpose events space which could fit up to 3,000 people,’ Deputy Raymond said. ‘Almost like a mini O2 Arena with shops and other offerings around the venue.

‘The amphitheatre could be a space for everyone, including musical performances and even live sporting events.

‘We are looking at every avenue. There has even been a suggestion of a hotel and casino,’ he added.

Deputy Raymond said the historic value of the Fort has to be taken into consideration.

‘Fort Regent goes back to the 1800s and sometimes people forget the historic value of it, and we’ve got to put that into our plans. All these things are being discussed,’ he said.

The Fort is currently being used as a home for the Island’s Covid-19 vaccination centre and Deputy Raymond said the first priority was to ensure all clubs operating at the Fort had a home to move into before they left.

‘No one is moving anywhere until they have somewhere to go,’ he added.

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