The personal views of Sark residents will take centre stage and form the backbone of a long-term sustainability plan, when senior members of the Prince’s Foundation visit next week.
Ben Bolgar, Senior Director at the Foundation, told Express the focus would be on residents’ perceptions of the island and what they want for its future at a public meeting on Monday evening.
He said it would allow for a “common sense discussion” where positive and negative views can be openly shared.
Mr Bolgar, an architect and construction professional of 30-years, will arrive in Sark alongside three other Foundation members, who between them hold advanced qualifications in architecture, landscaping and planning.
While planners can have “preconceptions” prior to development, Mr Bolgar said the Foundation always starts “with a blank piece of paper”. He likened the format of the meeting to a GP appointment, where the doctor always starts with the question “how do you feel?”.
“What we do, while listening, is to collate the information to then form a high-level sustainability framework."
The second day will see more private workshops with specialist stakeholders, going into further detail and touring key sites around the island.
Pictured: The Foundation was invited to the island by Sark Property Company, independently of the island's government.
He also sought to disconnect the work of the Foundation with that of the Prince’s Trust, which focuses on assisting young people into training and employment. The Foundation is only concerned with the “built and natural environment”, he said.
Having visited the island once already, Mr Bolgar remarked that “there are very special parts of the island, then you look the other way, and some parts are dilapidated”, signalling the need for rejuvenation.
He added that with changing demographics and other economic factors, it’s important to consider the point at which younger generations stop considering it an attractive place to live.
Following the meetings, the Foundation will compile a report that aims to “synchronise” the various views, establish a common goal, and chart a way to breakthrough silo mentality to deliver change. That will be published this summer.
While Sark is small, Mr Bolgar is encouraged by the prospective contributions of the “incredibly diverse and disparate people”.
Mr Bolgar called for “as many people as possible” living in the island to attend the evening meeting. He labelled it a “transparent process” where residents can provide feedback at multiple stages.
If the summer report is deemed valuable by residents, the Foundation will return to draw up a plan for the island, incorporating the subsequent feedback.
Chief Pleas – Sark's parliament - weren't consulted on the intention to bring the Foundation to the island. It has now been notified, and has reserved the right to comment when it better understands the Foundation's intent.
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