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Sark mortgages allowed in 17th Century law reforms

image captionThe Channel Island's land laws have been in place since the early 17th century

The Channel Island of Sark has reformed land laws dating back to the 17th Century.

Sark's government, Chief Pleas, unanimously approved mortgages to be used to buy property from February.

Currently anyone who wishes to live on the island has to rent property or buy the land outright.

Another reform approved on Thursday introduces legal protections for tenants from eviction without notice for the first time.

Sark was subdivided in to 40 sections by order of the British Crown in 1565.

A further royal decree in 1611 established these sections could not be be split up in to smaller parcels of land and sold off.

These parcels of land were originally for 40 families to act as a military garrison, with an acre of land to support themselves.

Conseiller William Raymond, who brought the proposals forward, told Chief Pleas these reforms were just the beginning of changes to the land management rules.

He argued all of the 500 or so people living on Sark deserved the ability to purchase their own home or land.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Raymond explained the reforms were "terribly important for the future of Sark".

He added elderly residents of the island were concerned about outliving the duration of their lease, which was detrimental to the "stability of the community".

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