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Work to begin soon on new Les Quennevais clubhouse

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FOLLOWING years of fundraising and negotiations, work is due to begin imminently on a state-of-the-art hockey clubhouse at Les Quennevais after Jersey Hockey was granted a 25-year lease for the site.

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The organisation first announced plans for the project in January 2014 and set about fundraising for the hundreds of thousands of pounds needed to pay for it.

Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel has now lodged a report notifying the States of the decision to grant the body – which has raised a total of £625,000 for the clubhouse – the lease of the land on which the hockey pitch and stand currently sit. And with a long-term lease in place and enough money raised, work can now begin on building the new clubhouse, which will include changing rooms, a function room, offices and a bar.

Having such a home has been an ambition of the Island’s hockey fraternity since they left the Hockey Club facilities in St Peter. It will be used by all eight of the Island’s hockey clubs, including men and women, and 450 members aged seven to 80.

Others sports clubs will also be able to use the new facility and it is hoped it will help attract more visiting clubs to the Island.

Planning gave the project the go-ahead in September 2016. David Stern, who co-ordinated the fundraising, said work would begin before the end of the year with a view to the clubhouse being opened in spring 2018.

‘We have worked really hard and there has been a real pulling-together from the community, demonstrating the desire to have this facility,’ he said. ‘We have been fortunate to receive two decent-size grants, one from the One Foundation and another from the Tourism Development Fund. But the vast majority, over 90 per cent, has been raised by independent donations and funding.’

Jersey Hockey is now consulting with Mitchell Building Contractors, who are carrying out the work, about the finer details of the project and an order will be placed for the steel structure soon. It is expected to arrive early next year.

‘It also means that the sport will be able to attract more visitors,’ said Mr Stern. ‘We currently get around 300 visits per year and we think that Jersey is going to be a hugely popular place to come and play, particularly in the shoulder months on pre- or post-season tours. We expect that with this new facility over a three-year period we can see that doubling.’

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Jersey Hockey will also be responsible for the upkeep of the synthetic hockey pitch, which was replaced by the States in 2014.

Deputy Noel said the annual rent that would be paid by the organisation for the land could not yet be disclosed but would be public once the lease had gone through court.

‘From a public point of view the Island gets a fantastic new facility that other clubs and associations can use without it costing the taxpayer anything. And we get it maintained without it costing taxpayers, either,’ he said.

lSport clubs that could make use of the roof of the existing Jersey Hockey stand are being invited to get in touch with the organisation. The roof, which is being removed to make way for the new clubhouse behind and on top of the stand, is described as being in ‘good condition’.

Mr Stern said: ‘If any sports are particularly feeling able to use the existing roof structure of the stand, then it is in good condition and would be taken apart.’

Mr Stern can be contacted on 07797 740369.

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