Work on a £3.1 million extension to Oakfield Sports Centre is likely to be delayed to the end of the year because collapsed contractor Camerons was in the pipeline to build it.
Work to add a new hall on the side of the centre off Wellington Road and redevelop the existing facility was initially due to be completed in the first quarter of 2022 but the project has suffered several setbacks.
Responding to a written question in the States from Deputy Steve Luce, Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said: “The contract to construct the extension of Oakfield Sport Centre has been significantly delayed due to the liquidation of Camerons.
“Senior officers are currently reviewing the alternative options for project delivery. The project is not likely to start construction until late Q3 or Q4 2023.”
The refurbishment and improvement of the facilities at Oakfield were part of a wider £100m ‘Inspiring Active Places Strategy’ to move sports out of Fort Regent and create a network of training sites across the island.
Pictured: Oakfield had been selected as an alternative facility for the sports clubs currently accommodated at Fort Regent.
Plans for the centre were rejected by the Planning Committee in October 2021 over concerns the design was “cheap” and “lightweight” and that parking would be an issue.
Deputy Luce, who sits on the committee, described the plans a “massive intensification of the area”, saying it felt like “trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot”.
Infrastructure returned to the Planning Committee in February last year with a slightly smaller design and the application was successful.
The delay meant that the Government lost its original source of funding – the pandemic-related Fiscal Stimulus Fund – so IHE had to go back to the Treasury asking for money, which came from departmental underspends.
The delay caused by the Camerons collapse will have a knock-on effect on plans to redevelop Fort Regent, but that project has already been put on the backburner, at least for this year, by the Government.
Deputy Binet has also asked his officers to review elements of the wider sports strategy.
He said: “The Inspiring Active Places Strategy remains at the forefront of delivering improvements and new facilities for the Island.
“Currently, some of the projects within the strategy are being reviewed in light of changes to the economic and political landscape.
“The officer team are preparing bids for the Government Plan, the outcome of which will dictate the level of investment and which projects move to delivery.”
However, he added: “The gym and fitness facilities at Fort Regent will remain open until the new replacement facilities at Springfield are complete.
“The refurbishment of Springfield to create the fitness facilities will be complete and handed over to Sports Division by the end of April 2023.
“The date for opening is 15 May, subject to building control approval.”
The Government has said that a new police firing range at Crabbé will also be delayed by the demise of Camerons, which collapsed into liquidation at the end of February, leaving subcontractors and suppliers millions of pounds out of pocket.
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