Salcombe: What’s it like living in the UK’s most expensive seaside town?

Image caption,

Sam Long says there’s nowhere higher to work on boats

“I was one of the holidaymakers who made it my home,” says Sam Long, who moved to Salcombe in 2009. Fourteen years later he has no regrets.

Salcombe, in south Devon, has been named Britain’s most expensive seaside city, with a mean home worth of greater than £1.2m, based on Halifax.

The picture-postcard surroundings speaks for itself – however its recognition comes with a price. Rising home costs make it unaffordable for a lot of locals, and outdoors of vacationer season, plenty of the houses are empty. So what’s it really like to stay there?

Anyone who has lived or labored in Salcombe is aware of that the summer season flood of vacationers – and the accompanying battle to discovering a parking house – is now the norm. Walking down the excessive road in August could be like tackling an impediment course.

When the solar shines, households hurry round in search of ice cream, automobiles squeeze previous pedestrians on slim lanes and other people dodge grasping seagulls which might be desperate to snap up any pasty left briefly unattended.

The buzzing environment, seaside views and (largely) pleasant “grockles”, or holidaymakers, make it all worthwhile for many individuals – whereas recognizing celebs is an added perk.

“It’s beautiful and absolutely the most stunning place I’d ever been to,” says Sam, who grew up in London. “I fell in love as a kid and constantly begged my parents to move here,” he says.

As a baby, having the ability to stroll right down to the native bakery for bread by yourself was a releasing deal with, he says – and a change from his life again in London.

Image supply, Getty Images

Sam, who moved to Salcombe after college, runs Devon Boat Sales and Salcombe Sea School, and asks: “Where else would you rather be if you work with boats?”

There is a “great local community here which I think people forget”, he says. He has volunteered for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is concerned with the rugby membership, and yearly he helps different native residents put the city’s Christmas lights up.

“Everyone looks after everyone and I feel very safe and happy bringing my kids up here,” he says.

Image supply, Getty Images

The estuary is arguably the point of interest of the city. During the peak season the wall at Victoria Quay is filled with crabbers competing to fill their buckets, boat customers battling for water house and youngsters leaping off the wall at excessive tide.

Walking spherical the nook, to Fore Street, you come throughout considered one of Salcombe’s many ice cream outlets.

Lucia Bly, the co-owner of Salcombe Dairy, says that working in the store is “relentless” as “generations of holidaymakers come back for an ice cream on the beach”.

Image supply, Salcombe Dairy

Image caption,

Lucia, who co-owns Salcombe Dairy together with her husband Dan, says you must be artistic to make a enterprise work in the city

Salcombe Dairy is close to a park-and-ride drop off, which is a life-saver for a lot of as a result of the city’s few automobile parks usually resemble the Boxing Day gross sales.

Lucia, who owns the enterprise together with her husband Dan, says they love that folks come on vacation right here – “but it would be better if they didn’t all come at once”.

For a number of years, the ice-cream store thrived in the summer season however then misplaced cash in the winter.

Lucia says it remains to be “very hard” in winter, however that the enterprise has tailored to maintain its employees employed all yr spherical, corresponding to by stocking different merchandise and promoting ice cream on-line for supply round the nation.

She says she’d like extra of the income Salcombe generates in the summer season for use to assist locals, and suggests bettering the roads and a cycle path into the city.

Image supply, Getty Images

Further down the slim road, vacationers step in and out of the unbiased cafes, sandwiched between excessive road names corresponding to Joules and Fat Face.

Then passing Whitestrand automobile park, which sees ferries decide up guests to take them to native seashores, a key function of Salcombe emerges – considered one of its many hills.

The city consists of steep winding roads climbing up the cliffside, connecting the extra tourist-heavy space of Salcombe close to the water with the extra lived-in part at the high of the hill.

As properly as the major college and the rugby membership at the high of the hill, Salcombe additionally has two church buildings and one grocery store.

They’re sustained by an area inhabitants of about 2,000, in comparison with the roughly 25,000 individuals who come in the summer season, says property agent Theo Spink, a resident for the previous 10 years.

Tourists are primarily the “lifeblood” of the city, she says – and Salcombe has an identical second-homeowner drawback to many seaside cities.

“I think 75% of the houses are not lived in.”

Image caption,

Estate agent Theo Spink says 75% of the homes in Salcombe “are not lived in”

This week, native councillor Julian Brazil, informed the Guardian that some key employees corresponding to nurses, academics, care employees and cleaners might not afford to stay in the space,

“In the winter, in February, you’ll look across at Salcombe, and there aren’t any lights on,” he mentioned.

Theo says it generally is a “struggle” to seek out properties for native folks due to “the influx of holidaymakers pushing prices up”.

It’s a “big problem”, she says, and other people need to compromise to get what they need or transfer to comparatively cheaper cities close by, corresponding to Marlborough.

Sam acknowledges that in the winter you may “walk from one end of the high street to the other and not see anyone”.

“But if you want to live here it’s part of the parcel,” he says.

Image supply, Getty Images

Current listings on Luscombe Maye’s web site present properties starting from £2.6m for a two-bed penthouse to £350,000 for a one-bedroom flat.

And an area rental property web site suggests renting a home for 4 folks for every week can price greater than £1,200.

But regardless of excessive costs, and well-known faces being noticed all through the city over the years, it nonetheless feels like dwelling to many individuals.

Theo says it’s nonetheless a “bucket-and-spade type place” with no Michelin star restaurant and never many accommodations.

The city remains to be “about being in a little boat in the rain in your wellies”, she says.

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