£100m project: Work begins

MULTI-million-pound plans to turn Le Rocquier into a state-of-the-art sports complex could be acted upon from as early as next month, it has been revealed.

Le Rocquier school                                                             Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30478705)
Le Rocquier school Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30478705)

Jersey Sport chief executive Catriona McAllister, who has been seconded to the government to direct their ten-year, £100million sports facilities project, says tender bids for their new ‘eastern hub’ could be encouraged in April as officials target a 2024 completion date.

The Le Rocquier facility, which would include an eight-court sports hall with spectator seating, a purpose-built gymnastics centre, a cafe and potentially a swimming pool, has been proposed as the first major development under the ‘Inspiring Active Places’ strategy, which also suggests renovations at Oakfield and Springfield by 2022 and a complete demolition and rebuild of Les Quennevais by 2032.

McAllister, who presented the long-term, wide-reaching strategy last week, said: ‘The next step is to move to an open procurement process, which includes a fully-competitive tender process to bring in professional services to support the design and development of Le Rocquier. They will start to think about other facilities, but it will principally be Le Rocquier to begin with.

‘We will be recruiting principal designers, architects and support services including structural engineers and mechanical engineers. Then quantity surveyors for cost consultancy, and project management. We will also need sport and leisure consultants to help advise on the technical side and consultations will need to happen with the school, sports, parishes and local user groups. There is a lot of work to be done.

‘We are starting to prepare documents for that and with a fair wind we’re hoping to go out to the [tender] market in early-April and have them in place July-time. Then from August onwards we will be starting to design that building fully.’

Deputy Hugh Raymond, the political lead for sport in Jersey, has confirmed that funding for the ‘design development and planning’ stages of the Le Rocquier plan has already been secured within the 2021/22 Government Plan. It is understood that this amounts to £250,000.

However, financial backing for the construction stage will need to be approved at a later date, with the level of funding dependant on what facilities will be built.

‘One of the first exercises will be to further consider what the final facility should be,’ McAllister explained. ‘For Le Rocquier the question is “pool or no pool?”, and that makes a difference in terms of cost and the footprint of the site.

‘We have sufficient funding to get us to the point of putting a spade in the ground. One of our big jobs will be to work out how much it will cost and get that submitted for the 2022-2024 Government Plans.’

She added: ‘I’m really confident about Le Rocquier. Once people see what a modern, fit-for-purpose facility looks like they will be hugely excited, because they will see what’s possible. The difference that makes to the local community is huge.’

The estimated £100m bill – spread across ten years – is set to consist of both public and private investment.

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