Original article from Kent Live
Dover's historic Citadel fortifications are set to be turned into a massive airsoft arena, with at least two major events planned.
The Western Heights site dates back to the 18th century when a series of forts, strong points and ditches were designed to protect the country from Napoleonic invasion.
In more recent times it was home to a large Immigration Removal Centre, which closed in 2015.
Most recent of all, the site was sold by the Ministry of Justice to a group that intends for it to become a project called TechFort.
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The site's owners say the development is due in the longer term.
They told KentLive that while plans are being finalised it is being rented out for various "meantime uses" including filming for TV shows and films and also now as an airsoft arena.
Magazine publishers Airsoft International organise airsoft events and recently announced their next two major annual gatherings will be held at the Citadel.
A statement said: "We are delighted to announce the new venue for this year’s AI500 – The Citadel (Dover).
"The AI500 has exclusivity to run Airsoft Games and we intend to run the first game in October followed by the second in April/May of next year."
Airsoft International said it was capping the October event to 400 players, with ticket prices to be set at £95 and booking details to be publicised "later this week" on its website.
They also insist the site's most historic buildings and tunnels will not be used, with activity confined to the Immigration Removal Centre buildings.
They also pointed to a dedicated clean-up team and noise curfews that would be in place.
Paul Monaf, Managing Director, told KentLive: "We are working with the nearest neighbours to alleviate any issues they have.
"We are very aware of the historical importance of the site and we have respectful members and strict rules in place that have worked in other Ai500 events we've been running for 15 years."
In terms of the Citadel's long term use, the site is now owned by David de Min who leads a project called Techfort.
It says its aim is "to redevelop UK’s most impressive fortress into a cutting-edge and world-renowned technology hub".
A statement on its website says: "The technology campus will house within it an exciting co-working environment with advanced and unprecedented facilities, supporting an ecosystem of start-ups and early-stage technology firms and large corporates to create, strategise, launch, expand and achieve their full business potential.
"The primary goal is to deliver a world class campus that drives innovation and entrepreneurship, providing a place for the UK’s creative minds to work, collaborate, network, learn and grow into successful businesses."
Mr De Min told KentLive that plans and contracts with investors for the TechFort project were being finalised, and that planning permission alone would take at least 12 to 18 months to acquire.