New netball facility? Calls for government to finalise plans

THE head of Island netball says she will press the Government of Jersey for urgent progress following news that the sport's current home will be demolished.

Jersey's netballers will not be able to remain at Les Ormes beyond March 2023
Jersey's netballers will not be able to remain at Les Ormes beyond March 2023

A planning application to build 60 new self-catering units at Les Ormes was approved on appeal last week – following a rejection by the Planning Committee in 2019 – meaning no further extensions to the Jersey Netball Association’s current lease will be offered.

Les Ormes officials had originally warned that netball training and fixtures would have to halt after March 2020, although two separate lifelines were later offered, providing breathing space until March 2023.

Linda Andrews, president of the JNA, said that while the hunt for a new permanent home has never ceased, recent developments have brought into sharper focus the need for definitive action.

Provisions to build a new netball facility are set to be included in the government’s upcoming long-term Sports Facilities Strategy, which was due to be released and acted upon last year. However the coronavirus pandemic led to a shift in focus, with a new Government Plan for 2021-24 being drawn up. An update on the strategy is believed to be imminent.

‘We have been in correspondence with the government and Jersey Sport and that will continue, but this has heightened our need to get something finalised,’ Andrews explained. ‘It is now a major focus ... we have got this date and there’s no leeway. We know we’re out of there at the end of March 2023.

‘We’re pressing the government to give us a clear pathway as to how we can achieve this goal and get something in place in the time we’ve now got left, which is two years.’

Mike Graham, Les Ormes’ managing director, said the holiday-home project will be completed in a ‘series of blocks’ from September 2022, with the first stage not set to include the sports hall.

‘The earliest that building will go down is September 2023,’ he said.

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