Plans for regulated island-wide camping are being put forward by a Senator as he aims to resolve the ongoing Le Port dispute, warning that parking restrictions will just lead to pop-up camps elsewhere.
Having been contacted by "many worried islanders", Senator Steve Pallett is pushing to remove '12 in 24' parking restrictions on coastal campers at Le Port.
They were introduced just over two weeks ago by the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Kevin Lewis, who said his actions were “to deter vehicles from being left overnight or longer" and improve beach access for islanders.
Pictured: Planning restrictions were recently introduced at Le Port.
But Senator Pallett said that, along with the "outraged" group of campers, he too was left in "total disbelief at such an unnecessary measure”, which he says will likely only make things worse.
“It will potentially in my mind lead to the campervan fraternity spreading unregulated even further afield into other carparks around the coast where such parking restrictions do not exist,” Senator Pallet wrote in an open letter. “It will also leave St. Peter’s Honorary Police in the unenviable position of having to deal with very disgruntled and annoyed campervan owners, the vast majority or which do not wish to upset anyone or damage the environment in which they live.”
Senator Pallett said the "knee-jerk" decision should have been a last resort and will therefore be putting a rescindment of the restrictions to a vote in the States Assembly to "limit the distress caused" and "bad feeling" among the island's coastal campers.
He will also be asking the Assembly to discuss a new system for motorhomes to stay in "designated areas" around Jersey. “I don’t believe it should be illegal,” Senator Pallett said, adding that there has been a change of culture around motorhomes that needs to be reflected in legislation.
Pictured: Senator Pallett wants the States Assembly to discuss an island-wide regulated system.
Senator Pallett told Express he was supportive of an “aire”-inspired system, but that current legislation was “a bit restrictive”.
“Camping has become very popular and I think we should cater for that, not only for the local community but also for visitors. I think there might be a tourism advantage to it and maybe we are missing out on it," he later said.
While their calls for reconciliation have so far been left unanswered - St. Peter Constable Richard Vibert says he won't negotiate about an "illegal activity"- the Le Port Support Group welcomed Senator Pallett’s involvement, as well as from “all other elected members who wish to help including, Mr Vibert".
The latest developments in the dispute come in the months after Paul Hymas, a regular Le Port user 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.
Pictured: Coastal campers are keen to preserve their special place at le Port.
It said that all elected members should “recognise that lots of people from their own parish enjoy doing this type of activity and they should encourage it rather than be set against it by welcoming people to camp in their own parish at designated locations.”
“Let’s remember not everyone has access to an outside area at home and this type of activity is good for peoples metal health well-being,” Mr Hymas said.
“I recommend it is now debated at the highest level and amongst the constables at their next meeting, I strongly believe any democratic process must hear the views of the people at a public meeting so we can address any concerns and work on some ground rules so everyone is happy going forward.”
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