MOVING sport out of Fort Regent is ‘the right decision for the time being’, a politician has said in her response to a ‘Keep Sport at the Fort’ petition.
After the online petition from Friends of Fort Regent reached 2,400 signatures, Deputy Lucy Stephenson, the assistant minister with responsibility for sport, said the building was ‘beyond the end of its useful life from a sport perspective’ and that new, fit-for-purpose, facilities were required.
The petition described the facilities at the Fort as ‘an essential part of the local community, playing a critical role in promoting health, wellness and physical fitness among people of all ages and abilities’.
In her official response, published on the government’s e-petitions site, Deputy Stephenson said different sports were being moved to more modern, more accessible, facilities in the community to modernise provision and enable Fort Regent to be redeveloped.
‘The delivery of new, modern, fit-for-the-future sports venues is the aim of the Inspiring Active Places strategy,’ she said. ‘This plan has been widely shared with current Fort Regent tenants and discussed and negotiated over an extended period, and was also informed by consultation with sports clubs and associations and Islanders more generally.’
Moves were being ‘carefully timed’, she said, occurring only when new developments were open or temporary facilities were lined up.
Deputy Stephenson added: ‘For many years, sports that decided to move to Fort Regent were “retro-fitted” into locations and spaces which today would not meet modern standards required, specifically building standards and the requirements of national governing bodies in terms of the levels of activity or intensity being undertaken.
‘It is therefore right to be moving sport out of the Fort for the time being and to be making long-overdue investment in sport to make improvements and provide new, fit-for-purpose facilities to meet the current and future demands of sporting Islanders.
‘The government recognises that modern, accessible sports facilities are a vital component in improving the health and wellbeing of Islanders – there may still be a place for sport at the Fort in the future.’
In conclusion, Deputy Stephenson said: ‘To maximise the potential of the historic fort structure, major refurbishment works are required – this is best achieved once the building has been vacated, as it will then be a blank canvas for redevelopment.
‘Ministers remain committed to agreeing a way forward for Fort Regent which makes use of the landmark building in future in a way that is realistic, affordable and sustainable.’