New signs threatening coastal campers with £1,000 fines if they drink alcohol or sleep in their vehicles are to be swapped for a ‘softer’ alternative – just weeks after being installed.
The Growth, Housing and Environment department installed the signs last week following the decision to impose '12 in 24' hours parking restrictions in February.
But already they're due to be replaced due to an apparent "typographical error".
Despite the warning notices bearing his title beneath, the Constable of St. Peter Richard Vibert explained that he was included as a result of the department’s confusion over who has responsibility for policing the area. Describing the signs as “non-standard”, the Constable also told Express that he had asked for a reprint – without the threat of the £1,000 fine.
Pictured: The Le Port area favoured by coastal campers.
Coastal campers expected the signs to go up as further discussions have not been able to change the mind of the Minister for Infrastructure, who said the restrictions were necessary “to deter vehicles from being left overnight or longer, and to create more spaces for islanders to use the beach and nearby facilities.”
However, they were surprised to see an additional notice go up. Under the “Waiting Limited” sign appears a second one stating that consuming alcohol, being in possession of an open container of alcohol and sleeping in a vehicle or trailer are “illegal activities” in a car park.
The sign further states that any contravention could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
Pictured: The signs wrongly reference the Constable of St. Peter who has no policing powers over the car park.
Contacted by Express, GHE said that as a designated car park, Le Port is subject to the same regulations which apply to any other car park. “Within these rules, it is prohibited to consume alcohol within the car park area and while inside a vehicle. The regulations apply to the car park area and not to the beach or sea wall promenade,” a spokesperson said.
Furthermore, the level of fine was included, as it was “an update of the previous signs and this was thought to be useful information.”
St. Peter Constable, Richard Vibert, was aware the signs would be going up but explained that they had been designed some months ago before discussions started with the user group and Senator Pallet successfully brought forward proposals to look into more sites and an overall permit system.
Pictured: Constable Vibert said the sign should have been reviewed before being placed at Le Port.
However, Mr Vibert says the sign should have been reviewed before being placed at Le Port, especially since they contained what the department as described as “a typographical error in the wording.”
The sign reads “The Connétable of St. Peter” when it should only mention “The Parish of St Peter” since the island’s Constables gave up their policing powers in May 2012.
As Mr Vibert explained: “Le Port is owned by the States of Jersey and the Car Park comes under the management of GHE on a day to day basis. The States Police and the Honorary Police have policing powers in respect of any offences in a Car Park.
“Constables do not have any Policing Powers and therefore I have no powers whatsoever over the Car Park at Le Port.”
Pictured: The Constable said he does not have policing powers over the car park.
Mr Vibert said he would therefore ask GHE to make some changes, so that the signs are similar to those in other car parks and point out the main things that are prohibited.
“I have requested that these non-standard signs are replaced with the more familiar sign seen in many Car Parks which do not refer to either a £1,000 fine or the Constable of the Parish – who as I explained has no authority whatsoever with regards to what can and cannot take place in a car park - as it is not our Car Park.”
GHE confirmed they are in the process of amending the signage for Le Port in consultation with the Parish. The new signs are expected to go up this week, at a cost of £20 to print and re-vinyl the sign panels. The erroneous signage will remain in place until work is complete.
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