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Will it stay or will it go? Fort roof being assessed

Will it stay or will it go? Fort roof being assessed

Saturday 03 June 2023

Will it stay or will it go? Fort roof being assessed

Saturday 03 June 2023

Fort Regent’s iconic sweeping white roof and rotunda is currently undergoing a structural assessment to see if it should be kept or not.

The Government has said that once that study is combined with other reports about the building’s electrical, plumbing and other systems, there will be a “public and political conversation about its future”.

In December, the current Council of Ministers put the previous government’s ‘Future Fort’ plans on hold, which included ideas for a hotel, cinema, conference centre, bowling alley and casino.

Video: Former Chief Minister John Le Fondré introducing the now-scrapped 'Future Fort' vision.

It has, however, continued with the ‘Inspiring Active Places’ strategy to remove sport from the Fort. However, Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet told a Scrutiny Panel this week that he would not rule out some sports returning in the future.  

He said: “When we came into office, we were presented with a report which cost £250,000 proposing all manner of things; none of which were feasible. There was another proposal that we carry out another report this year and I said: ‘I’m sorry; we’re not going to do that’.

“Instead what I thought we’d do is find out what we are actually dealing with. What state is the building and what needs to be done to make it wind and watertight? Is it actually viable to repair it? Until you know what you’re dealing with, it is very difficult to know what to put inside it. 

“I am not in a hurry to see lots of taxpayers’ money get squandered on bright ideas on what the private and public sector might do there. We have enough skills in-house and previous reports to come up with a plan, once we know the condition of the building.

“I would not rule out some sport going back there.”


Pictured: Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said he "would not rule out some sport going back" to the Fort.

Giving an operational update, Infrastructure and Environment Chief Officer Andy Scate said: “We are carrying out a structural assessment of the roof at the moment. We have had several previous thoughts on the Fort – some have been to keep the roof; the most recent ones have been not to keep the roof.

“We want to make sure that before we make that decision, we know exactly what the structural integrity of the roof is now. It is many decades old. 

“Once we have the structural assessment, we will marry it up with other condition surveys that we have across the building. We know that the electrical and plumbing systems are very old and complex. We have asbestos, we have leaking roofs, we have an aging fabric. 

“Once we have that base information, there will be a political and public conversation about how much investment we are willing to bear to keep the Fort going.”

However, he stressed that the building was safe.

“We have to actively manage the building, and most of our property spend goes into managing health and safety issues; not making the facility better. Yes, it is safe, but it needs constant attention.”

He added: “It is clear that the public still want the Fort to be a covered indoor space for entertainment or events. 

“We have to understand that it will need significant investment. The challenge we have is how much do we invest and who invests, because the public purse doesn’t have enough on its own.”


Hold that Fort: development plans paused to speed up sport relocation

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Scott Mills on
whatever will happen to the fort, it will not be for ages and it'll be changed into some thing the public will be asked about, ignored, and end up with what the outgoing politicians want. And this will not happen in the next generation. Look at planning building.
Posted by Martin on
The roof at Fort Regent should be removed immediately and given to the Government as they need something very large & useful to "cover things up"?
Posted by HarryRead3 on
It is interesting that the public purse doesn't have enough on it's own however we are still shipping in consultants from around the world at whatever cost but we can't afford to keep and develop an iconic building for the people of Jersey
Posted by Isabel Jeune on
Well said,Scott and Martin!Too true!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
nice idea Martin, but I doubt that even this roof would cover up all of this government's cock-ups,
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