Seigneur can see only good
SARK Seigneur Major Christopher Beaumont is a big fan of Swen Lorenz’s relocation initiatives.
‘We now have over 100 people who have moved or are moving here thanks to Swen, his manual and his sound financial advice, and we see more coming in the future,’ he said.
Major Beaumont said all the newcomers have a similar outlook on life to Sarkees.
‘The newcomers are not tied to their locations and have the means and motivation to try somewhere new.
‘Digital nomads if you like. They choose Sark and stick, and we are definitely looking for people who plan to stick in Sark.’
Major Beaumont believes Sark’s population could easily go above 800 without issue.
‘Having a larger population would give a massive impetus to the local economy,’ he said.
‘We have cafes and restaurants but they’re not open all the time because there just isn’t the population to support them.
‘We pride ourselves on Sark produce, but unless you know the fisherman you can’t buy fish.
‘We could have a clothes shop, a butcher’s, a fresh produce market and a fishmonger’s if we had enough people living here to keep them in business.’
‘More people stimulate the economy and drive demand for goods and services. I would love to see our disused bakery brought back to life for instance.’
Like Mr Lorenz, Major Beaumont said the biggest, single issue in Sark was accommodation.
‘We have many sub-standard properties but, now we have had the first influx of new residents, we have no excuse for property owners not to invest in upgrading their properties to accommodate all these eager newcomers.
‘Buyers and tenants will make their feelings known about our housing stock. It is overpriced and not up to scratch, but the buyers will make that clear when they don’t buy.
‘Prices will come down or owners will do the work to ensure their property reflects the higher price.’
Major Beaumont does not believe there is any impediment to living in Sark, noting that Mr Lorenz sets out a number of ways keen relocators can gain permission to live on the island in his blog and in his book.
‘With 800 residents there will be no noticeable difference, except perhaps more of a buzz in the Avenue, and the ability to buy a pair of knickers locally,’ he said.