A list of designated spots for campervanners to park their vehicles and rules for a permit system are to be drawn up after politicians voted in favour of a change in policy.
The news comes after a long-running campaign by local motorhome owners, who suggested that recent restrictions on their ability to camp at Le Port would ruin their way of life.
Responding to their concerns, Senator Steve Pallett brought proposals on campervan use to the States Assembly for consideration yesterday.
He had originally sought to rescind the ‘12 in 24' parking restrictions at Le Port, which had been put in place by the Minister for Infrastructure “to deter vehicles from being left overnight or longer" and improve beach access for islanders.
Pictured: Parking restrictions were imposed at Le Port at the end of February.
Senator Steve Pallett said he wanted to scrap the restrictions to “limit the distress caused” and “bad feeling” among the island’s coastal campers, but withdrew part of his proposals at the beginning of the yesterday’s debate in the States Assembly on the matter.
Instead, he urged States Members to vote in favour of the latter part, which involved looking into more sites and an overall permit system.
Senator Pallett said the current camping arrangements couldn't continue without better control, but said that now the "camping genie" was out of the bottle, it would be extremely difficult to get it back in "without discontent and bad feeling."
He added that he didn’t recommend creating new camping sites, but instead said there was "scope" – particularly in the west of the island – to replace those lost in recent years.
He told fellow States members he was seeking to introduce a "less formal aire-style of designated sites”, which he said was popular in France and gaining momentum in the UK.
Pictured: Senator Steve Pallett said his proposals aimed to “try to find a long-term solution” for campervanners.
Having withdrawn the part of his plan to rescind restrictions on the Le Port area, Senator Pallett urged politicians to support the rest of it, to help find a "pragmatic solution."
The Assembly was split over the proposals, with a number of States Members expressing their opposition over fears for the natural environment and overcrowding, among others.
St. Lawrence Deputy Kirsten Morel expressed concerns over the impact "oversized" vehicles would have, noting: "Jersey is a tiny place,... land is our most precious asset."
He also voiced concerns about whether the regulations put in place would be respected, noting "the history of motorhomes in Jersey has been ‘giving an inch, taking a yard’.”
Senator Ian Gorst, the Minister for External Relations, said he had no problem in supporting the proposition, arguing that it would encourage tourism.
Pictured: “People need to get out in the great outdoors and enjoy what is a really beautiful environment,”Senator Pallett said.
St. Peter Deputy Rowland Huelin, referring to a recent planning application granted for 124 flats to be built in St. Helier, said the Assembly needed "to be prepared to allow the urban community to able to escape to the countryside."
The Constable of St. Ouen, Richard Buchanan, also supported the proposals, adding that designated areas should be chosen by Parish Assemblies.
Concluding the debate, Senator Pallett said his proposals aimed to “try to find a long-term solution” for campervanners. “The issue won’t go away by rejecting the proposition,” he warned the Assembly. “I’m not going to walk away from the issue.”
“People need to get out in the great outdoors and enjoy what is a really beautiful environment,” he added, before asking for a “trial scheme” that would give information and evidence on what works and what doesn’t.
.@Steveforsenator tells #StatesAssembly that ignoring this Proposition "won't make the issue go away." He says there are 1K caravans/motorhomes in #JerseyCI, not used at the same time, but that they do exist. He believes a small working party can resolve what is a "simple" issue— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) May 21, 2019
His proposals were subsequently approved, with 20 votes in favour and 18 against.
The 'Camping Reform Committee’, which includes regulars at le Port and representatives of the Jersey Camping and Caravanning Club, said they were pleased with the result, adding that it was “certainly a step in the right direction for us.”
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