Campervan community ‘a hotbed of creative talent’

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The strip of coastline between the Watersplash and El Tico in St Ouen’s Bay has made headlines again in recent weeks after St Peter Constable Richard Vibert raised concerns that too many people were using the site.

Complaints are also understood to have been made concerning littering and anti-social behaviour, including drunkenness.

But Paul Hymas, a regular user of Le Port and spokesman for the community, said that only a small number of people who camp there misbehave and are ruining it for the ‘vast majority’.

In response to the recent criticism he has launched a petition calling for further areas where Islanders can camp for free for up to 48 hours to be established across Jersey, similar to the French Aire system.

Mr Hymas said he believed that many places in Jersey would be great sites for campervan users and creating other designated areas would take the pressure off Le Port and allow campers to enjoy more of the Island’s natural beauty.

‘There’s Longbeach at Gorey and there’s a big empty car park in between Gorey Castle and St Catherine’s which doesn’t get used,’ he said.

‘You’ve also got Ouaisné in St Brelade, Secrets in St Ouen, Les Platons where the Beez Knees is on the north coast. There are so many places where if you were to open them up people would use them.

‘Why would you not want people to go there, use those places, have fun and make memories for the future?’ he said.

At the time of writing, more than 1,300 Islanders had signed the e-petition, which was launched last week. A ministerial response is required for any petitions where more than 1,000 signatures are collected.

Mr Hymas said he believed that some people have the ‘wrong impression’ of the campervan users at Le Port and anti-social behaviour is limited.

‘There are a small minority of people who will always spoil it for the vast majority of people who come down here and enjoy this place, have respect for the people around them and for passers by, as well as the environment,’ he said.

‘There is not any litter around this car park. I go around and clean it every morning I stay here and we organise beach cleans on our Facebook page.’

Mr Hymas said that the community at Le Port had a ‘good relationship’ with Mr Vibert, who also supported other areas in Jersey being designated for campervan usage.

‘The Constable wants a small fee to be paid for camping to pay for things like public toilets but we can bring our own toilets,’ he said.

‘There’s no need for the parish or the States to spend that money.’

Anita Rive, who works for Jersey Heritage and also uses Le Port regularly, said she believed that the community there was self-policing and a hotbed of talented musicians and artists.

‘It’s a bunch of really lovely, gentle people. It’s not just about drinking – it’s the music, enjoying the views and the people,’ she said.

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