Clubs vent frustration

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That is according to one of the clubs that is being impacted by the redevelopment of Fort Regent and the refusal to allow works to take place at Oakfield.

With works due to take place on the Fort after years of political wrangling, consultants had worked with the Government to find temporary accommodation for a string of Island clubs.

Many were going to Oakfield but, in light of the planning refusal, where they will now be housed is up in the air and club leaders are in the dark about what the next move will be.

Roy McDonald, who is the chief instructor at Jersey Kenpo Karate, said he has been told the Government is now ‘back to square one’.

He said: ‘We were told we were going to Springfield, which was then changed to Oakfield which was going to be better for us even though there were issues.

‘But the planning has been rejected and now we have been told the Government are back to square one, back to the drawing board, with regards to where we are all going.

‘If it was me I would spend money on Fort Regent and revamp it.

‘Or, another option could be looking at the Government’s multi-million pound portfolio of properties around the Island.

‘They’ve got all these derelict buildings, maybe they could look at them to find venues for people.

‘It is a bit of a worrying time and we don’t know what is going on.’

Julia Falle, head coach at Regents Gymnastics, who are currently based in Gloucester Hall at Fort Regent after making way in the Queens Hall for the Covid vaccination centre, said they are also in the dark. ‘We don’t know what is going on moving forward. Since we returned after Covid our numbers have actually increased and we’re supported by our members, and it is a worrying time for us all,’ said Falle.

‘But at the moment it is frustrating. Looking for an alternative is difficult, because with gymnastics you need the space but all the equipment there, you can’t be moving it all.’

Head instructor of martial arts club Gracie Barra Jersey, Rob Staples, insisted that not knowing a date for any move, or in fact where the club is going, is the most frustrating part.

He also said the club is resigned to losing members because of having to move.

‘They don’t know what to do now, after the planning application was refused,’ said Staples.

‘If we were given a date then we could plan for something going forward and we would be able to manage things.

‘But that hasn’t happened. People don’t like change so we are resigned to losing members and having to put memberships down.

‘But the major frustration is just not knowing. If we knew we would have clarity to see if what we were being given is suitable.’

The frustration follows news that the Indoor Cricket League at the Fort Regent has been cancelled without any alternative arrangements being made.

Despite there being no public objections to the plans to extend Oakfield, concerns around parking, design and the size of the proposed building led members to refuse the application.

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