The Administrative court in Grenoble has been getting increasingly tough on developments in ski resorts with judgements against la Clusaz, l’Alpe d’Huez and the Oisans area planning project but no one in the Savoy was expecting the verdict from the court last week. The whole Maurienne area plan has been thrown out. Perhaps if they’d read PisteHors.com it would have been less of a surprise. The project was already seen as something from a bygone era when it was first proposed back in 2019 and we recently covered the Southern Cross mega project.
The SCot (Schéma de cohérence territoriale) proposed 22,800 new beds, including a 1000 bed Club Med mega project at Valloire and 10 other resort development projects. This is the first time a whole SCot has been stopped by the courts. As a result all development will have to stop and a new, less ambitious project, proposed. The worry in the Alps is the judgment will set a precedent, particularly for the remains of the Oisans SCot that has already been strongly criticized by the courts.
Alexandre Maulin, head of the French resort operators, the DSF lamented that “development projects in our resorts are going to suffer considerable delays”. Ecology groups were jubilant saying “The Maurienne deserves better than a headlong rush into development that is incompatible with the challenges of the 21st century with a contradiction between the stated objectives and the totally backwards aspect of the plans.”
The judgment highlighted the “serious damage the developments would do to the natural environment and protected species located in the periphery of the Vanoise National park." They strongly criticized the Maurienne mountain communities who claimed that the way to deal with declining visitor numbers was the construction of more beds stating that “no thought has been given to rehabilitating the heart of resorts and dealing with the problem of unoccupied accommodation”. The “failure to control urban sprawl and a lack of long term vision” were also roundly condemned.