Oakfield development: Initial funding withdrawn following Planning rejection

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Deputy Hugh Raymond insists he will fight ‘tooth and nail’ in the coming months to ensure that proposals for a £3.1million upgrade are not derailed. His comments follow the apparent withdrawal of fiscal stimulus funding by the Treasury department which, Raymond says, is a result of a rejection by the government’s Planning Committee in October.

Fiscal stimulus projects had been given a 2021 deadline for work to begin, although it is understood that financial backing has been retained for those where a ‘spade in the ground’ is imminent.

If approved, a new three-court, frame-and-fabric sports hall could be built on the existing outdoor courts at Oakfield by May 2023, housing activities that are soon set to be evicted from Fort Regent.

Badminton, trampolining, basketball and five-a-side football are among the sports in line for a transfer to the 2,022 square-metre facility.

‘Under the fiscal stimulus situation, they’ve pulled it [funding] on Oakfield,’ said Raymond, an assistant minister for both the Infrastructure and the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture departments.

‘We’re looking at ways to raise the money internally, within the department. We want to get it moving because, frankly, it seems silly that we can do Springfield but we can’t do Oakfield.

‘Revised plans have been resubmitted and it is hoped they will be reviewed by the planning committee in early-2022. It is still the intention to fund the planned developments of both Springfield and Oakfield.’

A total of £1.9million has already been set aside to make improvements at Springfield, including the development of a larger gym for Active members and adjustments to the fencing around the football pitch.

Jersey Bulls FC require the fencing behind the goals to be moved back, creating standing-room for spectators, if they are to meet the criteria for promotion next summer.

‘All the planning applications with regards to Springfield are through and we had separate money to do that,’ Raymond explained. ‘But unless we do Oakfield, it will be awkward to move people out of the Fort.

‘I will push tooth and nail to get this done because we’ve got a knock-on effect with regards to Jersey Bulls. We want to make sure it all works together.’

The initial application for Oakfield was rejected on the grounds of car parking and the height of the proposed new sports hall.

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