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So the decision was made that we needed to get to the point where we could invite expressions of interest from private investors, and that's what we are working towards now.


group from the Fort to make way for a private developer without realistic relocation options been found . However, part of Steve's role is implementing a long term investment strategy that will look at all of the Island's sporting facilities and venues and how they will be maintained and refurbished in future years. He doesn't rule out the possibility of moving some sports from the Fort if there are better venues elsewhere. ”We have to make the Fort sustainable in future and to do this we have to be open to new ideas and potentially new uses for part or all of the Fort Regent site, with its prime location overlooking St. Helier”.


But first, the Future Fort 50 Group has had to review all the work undertaken over many years, looking at the options for the leisure centre and decide on the direction they wanted to take.


The vision document produced by the previous group under Deputy Eddie Noel, ‘Rediscovering Fort Regent’, had identified some exciting ideas, many of them based around family activities and sports, which would probably require a great deal of public funding.


‘This was never clearly going to happen in the next three years and so we decided we had to look elsewhere for potential expressions of interest and potential funding’ Connetable Pallett said.


‘So the decision was made that we needed to get to the point where we could invite expressions of interest from private investors, and that's what we are working towards now.’


There have already been interest shown from several interested groups, and FF50 simply doesn’t know how much interest there will be, however it quickly became


obvious that any process had to be as smooth as possible and try to make any ‘ Expression of Interest’ exercise and communication an attractive and exciting proposition to the private sector. For example, there could be space available for building discrete residential accommodation within the Fort walls which might make the whole proposition more attractive to developers and in turn, provide the necessary funding for other aspects of the redevelopment of the existing Fort structure. However, Connetable Pallett underlined the difficulty in creating anything new within the Fort without having a significant impact.


On the other hand, the review of sports facilities in the Island means that some sports could be better off outside the Fort, which might free up space for alternative commercial uses equally likely to appeal to developers.


‘We realised that if we are going to get private investors with new ideas on board, then we've got to be open to those ideas and we do not wish to tie the hands of potential investors unnecessarily at an early stage,’ Steve said.


Once the expressions of interest have been sought, it is likely that a public consultation will take place on the results that will then allow a clear timetable to be considered . It is hoped that an invitation to tender process could then be


implemented prior to the end of this political term.


That will either lead to an exciting redevelopment coming forward that could benefit many parts of the community and promote economic growth, or the States will need an expensive Plan B just to preserve the existing structure for a relatively short-term future.


20/20 - The Island Page 91


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