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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Fort Regent reopens for events

Fort Regent is accepting bookings for events again, seven weeks after a risk review concluded that safety measures had to be improved before any events could be held.

While the Fort has remained open for day-to-day use, event bookings have stopped, and six events which were confirmed had to be reorganised, and most were helped to find alternative venues.

The risk review, which was conducted by a specialist fire engineering company, capped the number of people who could be in the building at any one time at 1,170. That limit remains, but the safety measure improvements are on track to be completed by the end of May, after which events can again begin to be arranged, although some additional safety measures will be required. 

Tim Daniels, Interim Director of Jersey Property Holdings, said: "We're sorry for the disruption that this necessary activity has caused. A huge amount of work has been done in the last few weeks in order to get the Fort back to the basic standard of safety needed, and recognition must be given to the electrical technicians, Fort Regent staff, and other staff from across Growth, Housing and Environment whose hard work has enabled us to achieve this.

"In response to the fire safety recommendations, more rigorous safety standards have been introduced, which the Fort's Event Team will work with organisers to meet."

As part of the booking process, a risk assessment will be carried out for every event at the Fort to determine the capacity. This will vary for each event according to factors such as the time of day, the seating arrangement and whether alcohol will be available. 

Deputy Hugh Raymond, the Fort's Political Steering Group spokesperson, said: "The speed with which this work has been completed is a credit to the staff, and I look forward to welcoming events back to the Fort. We now have the Fort operating as it will in the short term, but work to determine the mid- and long-term direction for the Fort continues. 

"Getting the Fort back to its previous capacity of 2,000 plus is likely to require considerable investment, beyond the expenditure we have already made, and we must consider it in the context of how we want this important building to be used in the long term."

In addition to continuing safety maintenance, work is underway to reinstall the showers and toilets for regular users of the Fort gym. They were closed after traces of asbestos were found in an electrical cupboard in the changing areas. The work to reinstate the showers, sauna, and steam room is expected to be completed by July.

Written by Colin Stanier at 16:30

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