Coastal campers left ‘heartbroken’ over new parking restrictions disrupting their way of life will this weekend hold a rally ahead of a crucial vote that could reverse the decision.
On Tuesday, Politicians are set to consider whether to rescind a decision to make the Le Port car park, which is popular with camper van owners a ’12 in 24 hour’ zone.
The move was enforced at the end of February by the Minister for Infrastructure, leading Senator Steve Pallett to bring forward proposals to scrap it in order to “limit the distress caused” and “bad feeling” among the island’s coastal campers.
With only a few days left before the debate, the Le Port regulars, who have joined forces with members of the Jersey Camping and Caravanning Club as the 'Camping Reform Committee, are calling for all supporters to gather at Le Port at 11:00 on Sunday.
Pictured: Mr Hymas says the car park has remained empty since the restrictions were put in place.
They want coastal campers and anyone who supports them to come along at Le Port - without their vehicles - to show States Members how many people have been affected by the decision.
"It's a show of support, not a protest," said Mr Hymas. "We are hoping the States Assembly will allow a pilot scheme."
Janie Pinglaux, who sits on the Camping Reform Committee with her husband, said that while people might think coastal campers are asking for a lot, they are not. "We can go into any car park, provided there's space, and park our vehicles. We can cook food there, we can make hot drinks, use the toilet or have a shower if we have it in the vehicle. What we are not allowed to do is to continue into the morning.
"We want a simple change, we are not asking for new spaces to be created, it's not what we are after. We simply want to change a couple of minor laws to stay overnight – even if it's just a night a week at the moment – to show people it's not the nuisance some people say it is. I have a beautiful home, I'm very lucky, but it breaks my heart that we can't go watch the sunset and fall asleep listening to the waves."
Pictured: Senator Pallett's proposition will be debated in the States on 21 May.
St. Peter’s Constable, Richard Vibert, previously told Express that the restrictions were put in place following a number of complaints of “anti-social behaviour” around Le Port.
He also said that the sand dunes had been used as “some sort of toilet” and that it was particularly unpleasant close to Le Port.
Figures released earlier this year following a request under the Freedom of Information (FOI) law showed that the police received eleven reports of incidents in and around Le Port, between July 2014 and March 2019, most of them relating to issues with vehicles.
Regular camper Paul Hymas, who started a petition last summer to allow islanders to camp in their vehicle in designated areas around the island for up to 48 hours, said there had been no discussion with the Constable beforehand.
Pictured: Campaigner Paul Hymas, who started a petition last year, and his partner.
The Constable, however, said that he didn’t wish to negotiate about an “illegal activity”.
While he said the restrictions at Le Port were here to stay, Constable Vibert said he would support an island-wide scheme allowing people to camp at various locations.
“The Island Plan is the place to do this,” he explained. “We need to see how the regulations at Le Port are working and maybe then (an island-wide scheme) is something we can discuss..”
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