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Beauty spot ‘internment camp’ fence

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PARTS of St Catherine now look like an ‘internment camp’ because of ‘inappropriate’ fencing erected in the area, a heritage campaigner has said.

Fencing being erected around Gibraltar Rock

Advocate Christopher Scholefield, from lobby group Save Jersey’s Heritage, has called on Ports of Jersey, which is responsible for erecting the fences around Gibraltar rock, to cover the metal and plastic fencing with climbing plants to soften the visual impact ‘without delay’.

Ports of Jersey has spent £27,000 on the project to erect 114 metres of fencing around the base of the rock, at the approach to the breakwater.

The work, which is being carried out by Geomarine, is being undertaken as a safety measure after a rock stability survey was carried out at the beginning of the year.

Mr Scholefield said that ‘St Catherine is fast becoming a textbook example of how to damage the charm of a beauty spot’ because of the fencing, together with new traffic signs and bus shelters in the area, as well as a mobile phone mast on the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater.

‘Save Jersey’s Heritage is not complacent about safety issues but PoJ have taken a heavy-handed approach, as if making parts of this popular beauty spot look like an internment camp doesn’t matter,’ Mr Scholefield, who also heads the commercial and fiduciary team at Viberts, added.

Numerous other Islanders have reacted angrily to pictures of the fencing online, with many labelling it ugly and some calling for it to be taken down.

Mr Scholefield added: ‘What is the issue here? Are we being kept safe by being denied access or are we being kept safe by arresting the progress of any rocks tumbling down the slope? If it’s the former there has to be a more proportionate way to warn the public the rock face is unstable.

'If it’s the latter the anti-intruder design element of the fence is inappropriate, especially at a local beauty spot.

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‘No doubt PoJ have been told by their insurers to do something, but what research did they undertake into the options open to them? Which factors led them to settle for such an insensitive solution?

‘At the very least the top, cranked-back, part of the fence should be removed. It won’t stop a rock fall and is an inappropriate design element on any fence where you can simply walk round the end of it.

‘PoJ should consult with the island’s horticultural experts and plant low-maintenance, maritime, evergreen, climbing vegetation to soften the impact of this fence without delay.’

The JEP contacted Ports of Jersey but no one was available to comment.

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