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Trust asks Islanders to help it buy coastal sites

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A CHARITY campaigning to safeguard the future of two local beauty spots is asking Islanders to make financial pledges to help it buy the sites.

Charles Alluto is the chief executive for the National Trust for Jersey. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (21717090)

The National Trust for Jersey wants to buy duneland in the coastal strip of St Ouen’s Bay and farmland running alongside Pine Walk overlooking St Catherine’s Bay in St Martin. Although both strips of land are located in areas subject to strict planning controls that forbid new developments, fears have been expressed that such regulations may not necessarily be so rigidly applied in the future.

Having submitted a bid to acquire the three States-owned fields alongside Pine Walk before tenders closed last Thursday, the trust has now turned its attention to raising £250,000 to buy the natural duneland between Le Braye Café and El Tico.

It has launched an online campaign similar to the one it ran to raise money to acquire the old holiday camp site on the Plémont headland and return the site to nature.

‘People have been contacting us and asking what they can do to help us buy the land in St Ouen’s Bay so we have put information on our Facebook page and our website,’ trust chief executive Charles Alluto said. ‘We are encouraging people to make a pledge, as we did with the Plémont campaign.’

Tenders to buy the duneland have to be submitted to Maillard’s Estates by 12 noon on 21 June and the land, which has been owned by the Simon family – who operate the sand works in St Ouen’s Bay – for more than 100 years. It is valued at between £200,000 and £250,000. If the charity’s bid is accepted those who make pledges will be asked to back them up with the cash.

The trust was able to save the Plémont headland from development by striking a deal to buy the site for £7.15 million, with the States agreeing to fund half of the cost. The derelict holiday camp buildings were demolished and the headland was restored to a natural state. Two weeks ago the trust suggested making a similar deal with the States but in the meantime it is pressing ahead with raising funds itself so it can meet the tender deadline.

‘We began raising funds before we launched the online pledge campaign and we have been contacting supporters who are known to want to protect our heritage and who may wish to make donations,’ Mr Alluto said.

Meanwhile, the future of the 11 vergées of prime potato-growing land in St Martin lies with the new Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis deciding who to sell to.

‘The tenders are in and will be reviewed and hopefully a decision will be made within the next week,’ he said.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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