Be­yond the post­cards

Eleanor Doughty speaks to lo­cal res­i­dents to dis­cover what life on the is­land is re­ally like

Country Life Every Week - - News -

Eleanor Doughty speaks to lo­cal res­i­dents to dis­cover what life on the is­land is re­ally like

When Jo Stod­dart, the founder of Quin­tes­sen­tial Re­lo­ca­tion Con­sul­tants, moved to Jersey from Lon­don in 2001, she and her fam­ily thought they had ‘died and gone to heaven. We said “we’re never go­ing back to Blighty.”’

Jersey is an hour’s flight from Lon­don, has the same time zone and cur­rency as the UK, but no VAT and the weather is much bet­ter. For the Brex­i­teer, there’s an added bonus that it’s not in the eu, al­though the street signs are in French. ‘This is a nod to when Jersey was part of the Duchy of nor­mandy in the 10th cen­tury,’ says Vicky Pemberton, di­rec­tor of Ashore Re­lo­ca­tion, the com­pany she es­tab­lished in 2008 to help fam­i­lies move to the is­land.

Jersey life is pretty bliss­ful, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Stod­dart. ‘You can have a City-type ex­cit­ing job, but be home in a very short space of time.’ her trips to school sports days no longer re­quire a day off work: ‘We can pop out in our lunch hour.’

When you move to the is­land, your qual­ity of life can no­tice­ably im­prove, agrees Mrs Pemberton. ‘Un­like the UK, where so much time can be spent driv­ing, in Jersey, you can walk on the beach in the morn­ing and, af­ter work, have a barbecue. There’s a much bet­ter work/life balance, which is the rea­son peo­ple choose to live here. Peo­ple who never saw their fam­i­lies dur­ing the week [when they lived in the UK] now have time to see their chil­dren and en­joy life.’

how­ever, the is­land’s small size isn’t claus­tro­pho­bic at all, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Pemberton. ‘Jersey is so to­po­graph­i­cally var­ied that it feels big­ger and much more in­ter­est­ing. There are cliffs and small bays on the north coast, with a 20-mile coastal walk­ing path; hid­den val­leys and wood­lands in the cen­tre; and a wild and rugged west coast with dunes and a five-mile surf­ing beach.’

St he­lier, the cap­i­tal, is vi­brant, too, with many mu­se­ums, theatres and beaches—plus, if you time it right, the chance to ex­plore the 16th-cen­tury elizabeth Cas­tle, on a tidal is­land just off the coast.

All this makes Jersey ‘an­other world’, ac­cord­ing to Fiona Ker­ley, who runs the Om­ma­roo ho­tel in St he­lier. ‘You’ve got the best of ev­ery­thing in minia­ture form. Town

‘You’ve got the best of ev­ery­thing in minia­ture: town life, beach life, coun­try­side’

There is in­creased in­ter­est in wish­ing to leave the UK and re­lo­cate to Jersey

life, beach life, coun­try­side. It fits in with ev­ery­body.’ You can even en­joy vir­tu­ally ev­ery sport—walk­ing, water sports, fish­ing, climb­ing—ex­cept ski­ing.

How­ever, no is­land, even one as beau­ti­ful as Jersey, is per­fect. Its charms come at a premium. Pri­mary health­care is pri­vate, so, should you need an ap­point­ment with the GP, you have to pay, al­though hos­pi­tals are free. The cost of liv­ing is also gen­er­ally higher than in the UK. There’s no VAT, but there is a 5% Goods and Ser­vice Tax on the ma­jor­ity of what’s supplied in Jersey for lo­cal use, in­clud­ing im­ports.

As an ex­am­ple, Mrs Ker­ley com­pares the cost of milk on the is­land, which is about £1.90 for two pints of Jersey milk, against the 89p you’d pay in the UK. How­ever, as Mrs Pemberton points out: ‘The qual­ity is bet­ter and Jersey farm­ers are paid more for their milk.’

Prop­erty prices are also higher: ac­cord­ing to the Jersey sta­tis­tics unit, the av­er­age house price is £468,000—sim­i­lar to Lon­don, but much more ex­pen­sive than other re­gions in the UK, where it av­er­ages £217,502.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, the UK’S de­ci­sion to leave the EU could put Jersey, whose main in­dus­try is fi­nance, on un­even foot­ing. ‘If the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion changes in re­gard to Brexit, the ad­van­tage of putting the money in Jersey [could dis­ap­pear] overnight. The is­land’s in­come could be very se­ri­ously af­fected,’ wor­ries Mr Rolls.

How­ever, Geri O’brien from the lo­cal Sav­ills of­fice is more op­ti­mistic and has found that the vote has had a sur­pris­ingly pos­i­tive ef­fect for the is­land. ‘Once the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum was known, there was in­creased in­ter­est from peo­ple wish­ing to leave the UK and re­lo­cate to Jersey.’ And who can blame them when you could swap your daily com­mute for a walk on the beach and more time with your fam­ily?

Al­though your pint of milk will cost more, it’ll come from the is­land’s cutest in­hab­i­tants

From the fresh­est of seafood to get­ting out­side and be­ing ac­tive, you and your fam­ily will en­joy a bet­ter qual­ity of life on Jersey

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