IT is “absolutely crucial” that Jersey’s coastline remains accessible to all Islanders, the National Trust for Jersey’s chief executive has said following the States decision to purchase the Grève de Lecq café site for £3.6 million.
States Members last week voted 40-2 in favour of the purchase and 35-7 to gift it to the trust for “environmental, cultural and social benefit to the public”.
Speaking ahead of the tenth anniversary of a States decision to give just over £3.5m to the trust to enable it to purchase the headland at Plémont and secure it as a public space, Mr Alluto said there were parallels with last week’s acquisition.
He said: “Grève de Lecq is a similar scenario in terms of being a strategic coastal site but the prime reason the trust was interested in the site was to safeguard accessibility to our coastline.
“It is absolutely crucial that we avoid ‘privatisation’ and that the coastline remains accessible to all. Grève de Lecq enables us to safeguard and enhance access to the bay and we look forward to working with the States to deliver this objective.”
The decision to purchase the headland at Plémont was ultimately taken on 1 July 2014 after a series of debates going back eight years. Mr Alluto said that it was “absolutely essential” that Jersey’s coastline was protected, adding that today no one would dream of building a residential estate [previously proposed] on the headland as it is now.
“It has been a joy seeing people visiting Plémont and, in particular, seeing how the puffin sculptures have been truly embraced by the community. Sometimes there are complaints that Plémont is too popular but I remember at the time when it was being debated that some States Members argued that Plémont was too far out and no one would visit.
“Fortunately we have been able to dispel that myth and long may it continue,” he said.
Commenting on the Grève de Lecq café purchase, Mr Alluto said: “We are very honoured to be gifted the site.
“Restoring public access to the beach and reopening the car park will be an immediate priority and, if feasible, we would like to be able to achieve this before Easter. We are enormously grateful to have been given the opportunity to help regenerate this key coastal site for the benefit of our community.”