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FOCUS: What do the £100m plans mean for my sport?

FOCUS: What do the £100m plans mean for my sport?

Friday 19 March 2021

FOCUS: What do the £100m plans mean for my sport?

Friday 19 March 2021


The future of football, rugby and netball among other club sports could look very different in future under the Government's £100m strategy to reshape the island's sports landscape. Here, Express explains what the plans could mean for your sport.

Unveiled yesterday, the Government's 'Inspiring Active Places' strategy involves building three major 'sports hubs' and a new Island Stadium, as well as refurbishing and upgrading existing facilities such as Springfield and Oakfield.

The plans also blew the final whistle on Fort Regent as a sports venue, with officials confirming they'd only be looking to use if for concerts, exhibitions and conferences in future.

They strategy was drawn up following analysis by consultants KKP of each sporting community's needs. Here, Express examines the issues their review highlighted and the promises that have been made by Government to address them...

Football

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Pictured: The FA have expressed an interest in being an "integral" part of Island Stadium development.

The consultation observed that there was a need for three full-size, floodlit 3G pitches - two more than what the island currently has. 

To address this, a 3G pitch will first be developed over the existing pitch at Oakfield in 2022, then as part of the Phase 1 plans for Les Quennevais in 2024, and another at Le Rocquier around 2024/25.

This is in addition to the full floodlit pitch that will form part of the Island Stadium in 2026, which will have capacity for 2,500 spectators, to help support the growth of Jersey football and ensure that “Jersey Bulls can meet its requirements in the higher league." 

The report says that, although the FA have said they will be happy to share the stadium as mixed-purpose alongside rugby, they have expressed their interest in being an “integral” part of this project rather than just a tenant.

Additionally, if this new Island Stadium goes ahead, Springfield’s pitch will then be transformed into two five-a-side pitches for 2026/27.

Rugby

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Pictured: Jersey Reds have stated a need for a new stadium to "deliver a more sustainable club structure."

Like football, Jersey's rugby community was also said to have identified the need for improved stadium facilities, with professional team, Jersey Reds, stating they need improved facilities "to deliver a more sustainable club structure.”  

They said it was necessary to "double the size and scale of the hospitality offer” and showed a “willingness to consider” sharing a new Island Stadium with football.

For amateur Rugby clubs, the Jersey Rugby Club has expressed a desire to grow in the East of the island and have a full-sized 3G pitch, though the consultation noted that "consideration will need to be given to making any facility World Rugby-compliant as well as appropriate for football."

Gymnastics

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Pictured: Several purpose built gymnastic facilities are scheduled to be built in the ten year plan.

The report found that approximately 2,000 people take part in gymnastics each week in Jersey, noting that a consultation with British Gymnastics identified there was a "need for two permanent facilities if there is an aspiration to increase participation.”

The plans show that as part of the transition from the Fort, initially, Oakfield’s four-court sports hall will be transformed into a permanent gymnastics facility.

Following this, a purpose-built gymnastics facility will be built at Le Rocquier in 2024, with another being built as part of Phase 2 of the hub at Les Quennevais in 2032.

Martial arts

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Pictured: Though Martial Arts practitioners have expressed their desire to continue similarly to their system at the Fort, the consultation said it did not recommend the Fort system should be "replicated."

Martial Arts will also initially be moved into the alternative facilities in 2022 following the Fort's closure, with multipurpose studios being created at Springfield for the clubs.

This will then be followed by a multi-purpose studio at Le Rocquier's hub in 2024 and one in St Helier's hub in 2030.

However, despite the previously described wishes of martial arts practitioners to remain in a similar set-up to what they have currently at the Fort, the review did not recommend this, saying that it would mean the Government "would in effect be subsidising competitors to its leisure operation.”

It added that “there is a potential opportunity to create a dedicated multi-functional combat sports space at each main new leisure facility… there will be a need to ensure that this does not compromise the operator’s health and fitness offer, which is fundamental to overall financial viability.”

Netball

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Pictured: Netball was highlighted as an "urgent" priority with the closure of Les Ormes to the sport in 2023.

As netball will lose access to Les Ormes in 2023, the sport is being treated as an “urgent" priority to be repurposed elsewhere. The consultation found that “there is a need to consider an immediate solution", stating that "this could be a 3 or 4-netball court frame and fabric (or similar) facility."

A new structure will be built at Oakfield.

Swimming

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Pictured: The key need of swimming clubs was to see a new teaching pool established.

Though the report said that Jersey has sufficient pool space for community and club swimming, it said that "the key challenge identified by consultees is the provision of teaching pools on the island”, as well as issues accessing Les Quennevais for club galas at weekends.

It also observed that "there is no appetite for clubs to merge", even though the consultation felt it would be the most desirable option.

The arrival of new swimming pools would be one of the later additions to the strategy, with the first arriving alongside St Helier's sports hub in 2030 (with an accompanying teaching pool), and the second as part of the Les Qunnevais hub’s second phase in 2032.

Hockey

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Pictured: The hockey club pointed out the lack fo floodlighting at the pitch at Claremont Field.

No new purpose-built hockey facilities are scheduled be built as part of the new strategy, with the new pitch and clubhouse now open and operational. The report notes that the Association has actioned its lease on additional land for a warm-up area.

According to the report, among the issues raised by Jersey's hockey community were that the pitch at Claremont Field has no floodlighting, which, according to the Association, “restricts club development.”

Cricket

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Pictured: Cricket teams are keen to establish Jersey's scene at a more international level.

There are no plans to create any updated or purpose-built cricket facilities in the strategy, with KKP noting that there are "sufficient facilities across the island to meet the current levels of demand.”

On plans for the future of the sport, the consultation noted that Jersey Cricket “is keen to develop Grainville as the Association hub site” to include offices and social facilities, and that it is “is interested in hosting international cricket tournaments in the future,” looking to the provision of high-quality outdoor cricket sites.

Indoor cricket was also described as an "important sport" for the island in the consultation, which said that it "will need to considered" in relation to any future netball facilities.

Beach volleyball

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Pictured: Beach volleyball is currently not considered in any of the new facilities.

With a membership of 200, the Beach Volleyball club “ideally” wants a permanent facility with four courts enabling it to accommodate events. While it doesn't necessarily have to be outdoors, the report noted that it would have to take into account the "loud music, BBQ and audience participation” that often comes with the sport.  

However, as it currently stands, it has not been included in any of the facilities due to these very reasons, with the Government saying it has the potential to "cause conflict with neighbours”, and that an “alternative venue" will still need to be determined.

Other sports

The report claims that even "further consultation will be required with all sports to feed into the design of individual facilities and to determine how they will be able to use and develop their participation streams within the new public sport and wellbeing hubs", as well as with those who are negatively impacted by any of the plans.

A six-week public consultation is now underway to gauge public opinion of these plans.

READ MORE...

End of era for sport at the Fort as £100m multi-facility plans unveiled

FOCUS: Inside the 10-year sport revamp timeline

LISTEN...

PODCAST - £100m to make Jersey the most physically active place in the world

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