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Assembly agrees to explore new areas for motorhomes

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MORE areas for overnight parking for campervans could be created following a vote in the States yesterday.

Le Port campers with Senator Steve Pallett

But restrictions governing how long vehicles can park in the Le Port area of St Ouen’s Bay will remain.

Earlier this year, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis signed off a ministerial decision to convert the area – popular with campervan users – into a 12-in-24 hour car park at the request of St Peter Constable Richard Vibert.

The move came in response to complaints of antisocial behaviour at the site, which has grown in popularity with motorhome users in recent years due to leniency from the parish authorities.

But following a backlash from users of the area, Senator Steve Pallett lodged a proposition calling for the parking restrictions to be rescinded, for the use of other motorhome sites to be investigated to take pressure off Le Port and revised camping regulations to be brought forward by the Infrastructure Minister.

Outlining his proposals, Senator Pallett said that he would like to see a trial scheme of new regulations take place at Le Port and a small number of other sites.

‘I do not see this proposition leading to uncontrolled camping around the coastline, as has been suggested, with hundreds of motorhomes preventing parking,’ he said.

‘In fact, I believe this proposition will produce quite the opposite. This proposition sets out to address issues that have grown over a number of years and require a solution now.’

He added that he had withdrawn the first part of his proposition calling for Deputy Lewis’s decision to be rescinded providing that a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach was not adopted to policing the usage of Le Port. The States approved Senator Pallett’s proposals by 20 votes to 18.

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Deputy Lewis, who opposed the proposition, said that his department was ‘not geared up’ to allow the use of public land for motorhome usage.

Meanwhile, Deputy Kirsten Morel raised concerns about the environmental impact of motorhomes and said that they had an ‘oversized’ footprint.

Environment Minister John Young said that Senator Pallett’s proposals could undermine the Island’s planning laws.

But St Peter Constable Richard Vibert said that he supported the proposition because the Senator had withdrawn the part calling for the Infrastructure Minister’s decision to be rescinded.

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He added that since the 12-in-24-hour restrictions had come into force, the use of Le Port car park had returned being ‘sensible’.

Deputy Montfort Tadier said that most motorhome users ‘just want to enjoy their civil liberties and enjoy nature’ and that regulation was the right step.

Senator Ian Gorst also spoke in favour of the proposals, claiming they would deliver a ‘common sense’ solution for motorhome usage in Jersey and allow Islanders, as well as tourists, to enjoy the countryside.

Members rejected by 21 votes to 16 an amendment lodged by Deputy Jeremy Maçon calling for an assessment of whether the parishes should be able to revoke or issue motorhome permits, rather than this function sitting with the Environment Minister.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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