By Thomas Curtain
updated 8 Apr 22 at 9:46
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In Orival, the road (D18) along the Seine between Elbeuf and Wassel, called Routes des Roches, qualifies as a tourist route due to its geographical position, between the Seine and high white limestone cliffs. There are also remains dating back to the Neolithic period, traces of the Château-Fouet built by Richard the Lionheart, exceptional troglodyte dwellings…
The Church of Saint-Georges, overlooking the Seine, is partly carved into the rock. The fauna and flora are rich in insects and small reptiles. It is also one of the Norman sites where several varieties of orchids have been found. This kit is listed in the ENS catalog (Sensitive Natural Areas. See page 31).
Houses lose value
The thirty or so families that live here are privileged. And yet they are overloaded. So much so that they launched a petition to be heard. For a year and a half, two empty plots were filled up. Among these sites is an area of about 5,000 m² between the road and the Seine, disfigured by a clearing.
“There were trees, hedges that held the ground together in case of a flood. This is a flood zone, you can’t build here. “On this land cleared of plantings by the owner of the site, local residents helplessly watched the mounds: “In March 2021, the mayor’s office indicated in the municipal bulletin that mounds are prohibited, but nothing helped! We counted up to 40 semi-trailers with soil per day! noted by residents who prefer to remain anonymous.
“The turns are pretty fast, the truck unloads its trailer and the excavator scatters the ground. We don’t know where this land comes from, these wild dumps, is it polluted? We all ignore it.” For them, in any case, “the earth is devastated.” The new owners have indeed raised the land a few meters to be out of the reach of the river, despite the fact that the area is in a flood expansion zone and can therefore flood regularly. According to our information, the owners, who also belong to the Traveler community, want to establish a caravan stop there.
For these residents, there is also the issue of living environment. And already this fear of seeing that their house “falls in value”, some already assure that they will leave if illegal houses grow in front of their houses.
But, on the contrary, the town hall (who did not want to get involved with Le Journal d’Elbeuf) is almost powerless. If it was possible to stop backfilling in one of the two zones, it continues in the second. And what will he do if, as the locals fear, caravans begin to settle in these places? “They will pay a fine and that’s it! » annoy your neighbor. Please note that no application for a building permit has been submitted.
“If you follow the rules…”
“The rock route is a great place. Classified tourist route. We asked to build an extension, but we were refused,” says a local resident, who still has this refusal in her throat. “We don’t have the right to work, but they have all the rights? she exclaims angrily. “If you follow the rules you can’t do anything, if you don’t follow the rules you can do anything. Remember that the problem of illegal settlement in the municipalities of Pays d’Elbeuf is neither new nor exclusive to Orival. The municipalities of Marteau and Sautheville-sous-les-Val were heavily affected.
With our correspondent Christian Pujol
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