Blanches Banques

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This private estate off Mont a la Brune occupies one of the most envied positions in the island, immediately adjacent to the wild open space of Blanches Banques. It became controversial in 1969, when 12 plots were offered for sale in an area where it was generally assumed at that time that building would be forbidden by planning laws. However, the owner of the land, Mr G Craven, was quick to point out that planning consent had been given for 25 houses as early as 1947. Work did not start on the first of these homes for another seven years, because of delays in sinking boreholes, constructing a reservoir and laying a service pipe, and Mr Craven embarked on the construction of one house a year the 'honestly constructed' properties selling for between £4 and £8,000. By 1969 prices had increased somewhat and in a newspaper report at the time Mr Craven blamed this on 'too much planning hot air and deliberate obstruction by civil servants and their obedient committees'.

Blanches Banques (literally 'white banks') is the official name for the area in the south of St Ouen's Bay which most islanders know as the 'Sand Dunes'. It is part of the area or Vingtaine of La Moye, and is now fully protected as a public amenity area.

In the past it has been used for such activities as gliding - no longer possible in the island's congested air space, tank evaluation and training, and during the First World War a prisoner-of-war camp was built to house German prisoners.

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