Grève de Lecq car park could be reopened by Easter, trust says

The Trust commissioned Socrates Architects to develop a number of potential options for the site, as pictured. (37472292)

THE car park at Grève de Lecq could be reopened as soon as Easter following a States decision to purchase the site and gift it to the National Trust for Jersey.

The trust’s chief executive, Charles Alluto, also said that a pop-up café could be set up in time for the summer.

The States Assembly this week voted overwhelmingly in favour of purchasing the Seaside Café site for £3.6 million and gifting it to the charity, with an amendment ensuring that the land must be returned to the public if the trust decided to divest itself of ownership.

Mr Alluto said the trust was “absolutely delighted and truly honoured” that the States had agreed to “generously gift us the site”.

He wanted to express his “sincerest gratitude” to the States for their support, saying: “It demonstrates faith in the organisation, which is always lovely to see because it means that people recognise and value the work that the trust does. That is always a boost and an uplift for an organisation.”

The first step, he said, following an exchange of contracts, was carrying out a full public consultation on the various schemes and designs for the site.

“The public have invested in the site, and they should have a say in how it is developed,” he added.

He said that restoring public access to the beach and reopening the car park would be an immediate priority and that the trust would aim to do so before Easter, if feasible.

Mr Alluto continued: “In terms of the café itself, we need to look at it carefully and see what might be possible. It might be that we can do some form of pop-up café during the summer season while we develop our plans, after making sure the building is structurally safe, of course.

“We would like to breathe some life into it as soon as we can.”

On how the trust would fund the development, he said that private investment would be needed, but that the charity had already committed £500,000 to the project from its Coastline Campaign reserves.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham, who lodged the approved proposition before becoming Chief Minister, said that he had managed to negotiate the “significantly reduced price” of £3.6m for the undeveloped site, with a written confirmation from the agent that the owner was prepared to accept that offer.

Speaking during the debate on Wednesday, he said: “The National Trust are the most appropriate partner for the work that needs to be done.

“They will get the job done and give us a strategic asset which will benefit the local community and our visitor economy.”

Deputy Lucy Stephenson, who called for the land to remain in public ownership forever with her amendment, said: “There is an opportunity before us today which we cannot ignore.”

She added that partnership with the trust was “exciting” and would have a “positive impact for our community and for Islanders”.

The future of the site, including its car park, became a point of discussion after it was sold in 2020 and later fenced off.

The trust already has landholdings in the north-coast bay which include Le Câtel Fort and Grève de Lecq Barracks.

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