The owner of a kiosk at La Pulente is fighting to be able to move his business back to its original spot at the top of the car park near the old public toilets.
Karl Sutton, owner of The Hideout, appeared in the Royal Court on Thursday, seeking to force the Constable of St Brelade to let him return his kiosk back to where it was before it was moved in November.
Mr Sutton also wants the currently fenced-off car park to be reopened to the public - until development of the next-door toilets begins in earnest.
It is the latest twist in a saga involving Mr Sutton, the Parish of St Brelade, and the owner of the now-closed toilets, a developer who wants to turn them into a Nude Food café.
Mr Sutton’s kiosk had been serving hot and cold beverages, burgers, chips and other treats from La Pulente on a scenic chunk of parish land next to the toilets since 2016. Customers also made use of the seating area on the toilet block roof, which offers picturesque views of St Ouen’s Bay.
When his parish permit came up for renewal last year, Constable Mike Jackson told Mr Sutton that it would not be renewed because The HideOut would get in the way of the proposed redevelopment of the toilet block.
The toilet was purchased from the public by Shell House Limited for around £100,000 in 2014, with plans approved the following year to change its use to an eatery.
Following a petition last summer backed by more than 6,600 signatures calling on the HideOut to be saved and two parish assemblies in September and October - the former called by Mr Sutton using an ancient mechanism called a requête - an agreement on the kiosk’s future was reached.
Pictured: The requête forced a parish meeting last September, when it was agreed that the HideOut would be allowed to remain in situ until permission had been granted to allow it to operate from the slipway.
This involved The HideOut moving a short distance down the slipway on its eastern side.
Mr Sutton argues that at the second Parish meeting, on 27 October, the Constable told the Assembly that a lease between the Parish and the owner of the toilet block, to use part of the car park for building materials and equipment, would be signed and the new development completed by the end of this month.
The Constable later gave Mr Sutton a permit to run his kiosk on the slipway until 1 June this year.
In February, Mr Sutton was given permission by the Royal Court to seek a judicial review of permit decision, on the basis that work hadn’t begun on the toilets, therefore he shouldn’t have to leave La Pulente in June because the new café would not be open by then.
This week, Mr Sutton returned to court to make new arguments. Through his lawyer, Advocate Howard Sharp, he said that it now appeared that the Constable had not, in fact, signed a lease for the car park with the developer, as he said he would.
Therefore, he asked the Royal Court to allow him to return to his original spot and for the public to have access to the area of the car park near the toilet block, which has been fenced off by the developer.
Pictured: The kiosk has been operating from the slipway since November.
This should be allowed, argued Advocate Sharp, over the spring and summer, until the toilet-block owner produced a timeline of his development plans. It made sense, he said, that Mr Sutton could return to his original spot - which offered attractive views over the bay - and the toilet blocks were developed over the winter.
“We are challenging the decision of the Constable to move The HideOut on the basis that he did not enter into a lease over the car park and no development has taken place,” said Advocate Sharp.
“The Constable had power to say to the developer: ‘You don’t seem to be doing anything, therefore you don’t need the car park’. He had that power, and he didn’t use it.”
He added that Mr Sutton had always been prepared to move from his original location once the redevelopment of the toilet block got fully underway.
It was revealed in court that the parish has now agreed to extend Mr Sutton’s current permit to stay on the slipway from 1 June to the end of August.
Commissioner Sir Michael Birt, who was presiding over the interim hearing, said that it was very unusual for him to be asked to take “such strong steps at the interim stage.”
He added that it was sensible that the Constable, who was represented in Court by Advocate Christopher Austin, had more time to prepare his defence, including seeing if there was a timeline for the development of the toilets.
The case returns to Court on 15 April.
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