Homes and businesses whose property encroaches on Jersey’s foreshore face massive bills or even demolition.
A new policy explaining the foreshore and the penalties for creeping onto it has been published following a series of cases where islanders have faced action, including one which led to an unexpected bill for £30,000.
The foreshore is the area of land between Jersey’s highest high tide line and the low tide mark.
The States say the working presumption is that nothing should be built on the foreshore and that people should have free access to the coastline and beaches, in almost all circumstances.
Jersey Property Holdings, acting for the Department for Infrastructure, is taking action to enforce the rules. A number of cases are ongoing after it emerged one homeowner was billed nearly £30,000 plus legal costs by the States after a home extension and balcony were built on the foreshore.
You can read the full policy here, but here’s your quick guide to how it works:
Minor encroachments: if they’re considered trivial no action may be taken.
Material encroachments: if they limit public access to the foreshore or get in the way of government work such as sea defences, the foreshore will have to be restored with the cost of doing so, plus both side’s legal costs, being paid by the person or company that made the encroachment.
Major encroachments: if the development doesn’t prevent access to the foreshore or any States works, it may have to be removed at the owner’s cost or a settlement can be made with Jersey Property Holdings for a “fair and proper” price, as well as the threat of future bills for any work or legal costs the government may need to work to maintain sea defences.