THE owners of the Portelet Bay Café have received planning permission to create two seasonal spaces at the end of a field for them to park their cars.
On Thursday 28 September, the Planning Committee voted by five to one to go against the recommendation of the Planning Department, which had argued that allowing private parking in the Protected Coastal Area – the most protected designation – would be inappropriate.
Instead, the committee concluded that economic benefit of allowing the beachside eatery to continue to operate outweighed the incursion into the countryside.
Addressing the committee, owners Piers and Alexandra Ostroumoff said that they had previously been allowed to park next to the pumping station near the top of the stairs leading down to their pizza café.
However, that privately-owned area had been purchased by a group of residents, who no longer wished for them to park there.
The new 55m² parking area, in which hogging will be laid to create two spaces, is at the southern end of two fields owned by the public off Rue Voisin, which will be leased to the café.
Mr Ostroumoff said that the parking area would be discreet and the vehicles would be screened by trees from most angles. He added that invasive species would be cleared and replaced with indigenous gorse.
As a condition of permission, which will be formally endorsed at next month’s Planning Committee meeting, the spaces will only be used between March and October and solely for the owners and operators of the café, which is 200 steps down in the bay.
The planning application sparked a public debate, generating 140 public comments: 104 in support and 36 against.
Mrs Ostroumoff told the committee: ‘We are saddened to have been part of a divisive situation and that was never our intention. Contrary to what you may have heard or read, we have some supportive neighbours.’
Committee chair Philip Le Sueur said it was a difficult decision as there was a clear policy tension in the application. However, he was swayed by a policy in the Bridging Island Plan which allows ‘justified and appropriate’ development in the coastal environment when it ‘supports the maintenance and diversification the rural and Island economy’.
Another member supporting the application, Deputy Alex Curtis, stressed that there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ in this application and the committee would not ordinarily support this sort of development in the Protected Coastal Area.
The two politicians were joined by Constables Kevin Lewis and Richard Honeycombe, and Deputy Andy Howell in supporting the application, with Deputy Mary Le Hegarat voting against.