Minorca.—The Council of Minorca is soon to begin work on restoring Fort Marlborough on Minorca which could mean that it will be ready next summer for celebrations commemorating the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the island's first British Governor, Richard Kane.

The Council of Minorca is allocating nearly 108'000 euros to the first phase of the fortifications which were named after the 18th century British General, John Marlborough.

The funding was approved last week by the Executive Council and details published in the official Balearic Bulletin (BOIB). The money will go to shoring up three points of the interior of the fort. The places are where there has been cracking in the rock face, threatening collapse, explained Tourism Councillor Salomé Cabrera yesterday. The initial intention is to prop up thee weak points with wooden beams.

A year ago the Council had ordered the interior of the fort to be closed off to the public as there was fear of the risk of falling debris. A few months ago, Cabrera blamed the Council of Minorca to allow the fort to reach such a state of deterioration.

But the reform works won't stop there. Cabrera explained that the restoration project needs a further 130'000 euros more for a second phase in which all the electrical wiring on the premises needs to be inspected and improved. Scenic effects need to be erected within the fort which will recreate a late 18th century atmosphere. “We want to make application for everything before the end of the year and open the fort to the public as soon as possible, but all the correct paperwork needs to be in order,” said Cabrera.

The Tourism Councillor admitted yesterday that “this project is already somewhat behind as we first announced it in May. Bureaucracy has caused the delay.” She said that the refurbishment of the fort had enormous touristic potential. There is still however, no official date for the start of the work.