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Not on estate agents' websites or those of chartered surveyors or those of the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or by the Eastbourne office of the Citizen's Advice Bureau is it revealed that residential freeholders and leaseholders and their successors of Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour property are legally required by covenant to pay a unique Annual Estate Rentcharge of £263.55 per residential unit for 2020 in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. (The only partial-exemptions from this Annual Estate Rentcharge are for the first 364 homes built at Sovereign Harbour. They were exempt from the Marina Charge but are liable for the SW charge). All Annual Estate Rentcharge Deeds are registered by the Sovereign Harbour Trust and/or its Community Interest Company shown below with the Land Registry. Nowhere is it stated, as it surely should be, by any of these entities that this Annual Estate Rentcharge is unique to Sovereign Harbour residents, it does not apply in any other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world. Nor do they state that much of it of it is for Environment Agency-provided flood defence. Also omitted by these entities is the fact that only Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay it. Yet this flood defence scheme covers a much wider flood zone area than just the 4,300 or so homes in Sovereign Harbour. In fact, more than 15,500 homes in areas of Pevensey, Pevensey Bay, Wealden District Council and beyond to Bexhill on Sea, 8 miles east also get this same flood defence service. But do they also pay for it? No, only Sovereign Harbour residents, via the Annual Estate Rentcharge. Sovereign Harbour homeowners are required in the lease and/or purchase deeds of each flat or house to  pay this to the Wellcome Trust-owned private Sovereign Harbour Trust via its private subsidiary the Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd, to Premier Marinas, owned by The Wellcome Trust. When a property changes hands the new buyer is charged at least £120, an unwelcome additional charge of the total transaction cost. But completely omitted on the websites of the last four named entities is both any mention that this Annual Estate Rentcharge liability applies to Sovereign Harbour dwellers only, no one else, and that a charge for it is applied to newcomers. Nor is it mentioned anywhere on their websites that the only purpose of the Sovereign Harbour Trust's Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd is to charge Sovereign Harbour residents the Annual Estate Rentcharge, not give them any beneficial community interest of any kind. While resident property owners and long-lease-holders are required to pay for this Annual Estate Rentcharge, businesses including all developers of Sovereign Harbour properties and their managing agents and property developers are exempted. A second unique covenant requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay an additional annual charge of more than £328. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties adjacent to or overlooking it. Notice about this second covenant is also withheld by most estate agents from prospective buyers of relevant Sovereign Harbour South properties. By deliberately not mentioning that this specific Annual Estate Rentcharge is payable by both freehold and leasehold homeowners, or disguising it as merely a standard harbour charge similar to other harbour areas, which it is not, estate agents who market Sovereign Harbour properties also fail to inform relevant banks and mortgage companies, many of whom for legal reasons may not approve mortgages on properties that are subject to an estate rentcharge.

 Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour

Toxic Annual Estate Rentcharge Capital of the World as shown below

Written by Keith A. Forbes, a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled.  He and his wife live in the harbour.

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About Sovereign Harbour

For details of why Sovereign Harbour is the Toxic Annual Rentcharge Capital of the World, see below under Sovereign Harbour Trust and its CIC 

Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour is situated 2.5 miles east of Eastbourne on the A259 Pevensey Bay Road going to Bexhill-On-Sea and Hastings.  It is a part of Eastbourne Borough Council's Sovereign Ward (a bigger area than just Sovereign Harbour and the easternmost of Eastbourne's 12 electoral wards). It was developed by Carillion Construction Limited. It had a huge and complex national and international (Canada, etc) corporate portfolio until January 2018 when it was put into involuntary liquidation and publicly disgraced. It included being a major supplier to the UK government. It helped to maintain schools and hospitals and was also part of a consortium building the £56bn HS2 high-speed rail link. Carillion was finally involuntarily liquidated but there is still a Bermuda company by that name. 

Sovereign Harbour North scene

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Photos above and below by authors Keith and Lois Forbes

Sovereign Harbour comprises an area of 330 acres developed since the 1990s to provide harbour and marina facilities for Eastbourne which previously had none. It is Northern Europe's largest composite marina complex. It is both a marina (divided into four parts) and a seafront harbour, with the harbour opening out into separate parts. The four marinas border the separate harbours. The Outer Harbour is tidal, whilst the Inner, South, North and West Harbours are entered through two high capacity locks, both manned 24 hours, 365 days a year, providing access to the sea irrespective of the state of the tide. Opened in 1993 by the late Princess Diana, it has  800 permanent berths, with some 3,000 yachts visiting each year. The Outer Harbour is tidal, whilst the Inner, South, North and West Harbours are entered through two high capacity locks, both manned 24 hours, 365 days a year, providing access to the sea irrespective of the state of the tide. All the many streets in the four residential areas have overseas names from exotic places (for example, Bermuda) around the world.  Premier Marina is no longer the independently separate company it once was. In recent years it was sold to the Blackrock UK Property Fund and became a wholly owned subsidiary, still trading (as it does today) as Premier Marinas. Later, it was sold to The Wellcome Trust and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter. The Wellcome Trust - a charitable foundation (except to the residents of its Sovereign Harbour to whom it charges £263.55 Annual Estate Rentcharge per house or flat as mentioned earlier), was created in 1936 by the will of Sir Henry Wellcome and its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a private company limited by guarantee. Premier Marinas Holdings Limited is a private company limited by shares.

In addition to its multi-harbour marinas it has the Sovereign Harbour Village Waterfront harbour-front area with its restaurants, bars and other business services, either owned or leased to other undertakings by The Wellcome Trust/Premier Marinas conglomerate. Also in Sovereign Harbour are the Harbour Medical Practice for NHS patients, with its GPs, nurses and support staff, built in 2014 with about 6,300 patients and, from May 2018, finally a long-promised paid-for by Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, the Sovereign Harbour Community Centre which includes a kitchen area but has no cooking facilities.

Geographically in the Sovereign Harbour area but not owned by The Wellcome Trust/Premier Marinas Holdings Limited but by M&G is the adjacent Crumbles - also styled Sovereign Harbour Village - retail park shopping centre. Some of the latter's stores (for example, the supermarket ASDA) and restaurants are frequented by residents of other parts of Eastbourne and nearby including  Pevensey and Pevensey Bay, and Polegate, as far east as Bexhill-on-Sea. The regional ASDA superstore has almost 100,000 square feet. There are also branches of Boots, Frankie & Benny's restaurant, a gym, Matalan, Next, Sports Direct, T K. Maxx, Wilko and a disability-friendly sports outfit. Until mid- 2019 there was a good multi-screen Cineworld cinema much appreciated by Sovereign Harbour residents complete with plenty of free parking in the retail park but to the chagrin of all Sovereign Harbour residents it was lured away by Bermuda-incorporated Legal & General's Beacon Shopping Centre.

Sovereign Harbour vessels at North Harbour marina

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Harbour North, part of marina. Photo cc these authors Keith and Lois Forbes

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Advice from good law firms and others to avoid places with an Estate Rent Charge (like Sovereign Harbour)

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Annual Estate Rentcharge explained

The Sovereign Harbour Beaches Sea Defence Deed, which created the Sovereign Harbour Annual Estate Rentcharge is dated 26th August 2001 and the parties were: 

The Annual Estate Rentcharge is payable only by Sovereign Harbour residents to the Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company (CIC) but not payable by the rest of E Eastbourne, Pevensey, Pevensey Bay, Bexhill, or anyone else in the UK.  

Basic Facts and figures

The Deed and Grant of Covenant for each qualifying Sovereign Harbour property.  This is not mentioned upfront by the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or estate agents. None of the latter have ever been required by these local authorities or central government to make a full disclosure of exactly what the Annual Estate Rentcharge is, what it comprises and who has to pay it, for the benefit of consumers and would-be purchasers of Sovereign Harbour property. Specimen copies of the deed with the relevant obligations are not made available in advance to potential buyers.  All that is said by same estate agents, very misleadingly, is that there is a "harbour charge". All harbours have a harbour charge but it is levied on marine craft. In the absence of information to the contrary it was assumed by many new owners that this is a normal harbour charge for all harbours in the UK, Europe and world. They were and are duped. No precise information is given in advance to let them know that there is no standard "harbour charge" as such. Instead, all purchasers of a Sovereign Harbour residential unit (property), as conditions of the sales contract, are required to sign a Deed of Grant and Covenant which obliges the purchaser to pay the Estate Rentcharge to the harbor's owners, the privately-held Wellcome Trust and its subsidiary (since May 2015) Premier Marinas. The charge is levied by the owners' private Sovereign Harbour Trust via its privately-held subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company. This requirement is attached to the property deeds, so the obligation passes to all subsequent owners of the property. The basis for the charge is an agreement between Southern Water and Tarmac Construction in 1988. At that time, Southern Water was responsible for coastal defences and Tarmac Construction. later Carillion, was the owner of the development land at Sovereign Harbour.

Annual Estate Rentcharge Elements

Two main parts

The Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) is a company limited by guarantee, set up to preserve and protect the environment along the beach frontage in front of Sovereign Harbour.  The registered office and correspondence address and those of its  Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC is Number 22,  Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8AS. The SHT was originally registered as a charity but, in 2010, the Trust’s charitable status was withdrawn as it had never demonstrated any charitable activities.  The Trust was removed from the Charity Commission register and is now dormant. On its website the Trust publishes A Guide to the Estate Rentcharge. It must be emphasised that the Government's Community Interest Company (CIC) regulations require a CIC to consult its stakeholders (i.e. the residents) about its activities, and to provide high quality information rather than just the required minimum. of charitable status (but still showing itself, wrongly, on its website as as a charity, the Trust incorporated  without any pre-warning to Sovereign Harbour residents a wholly owned Community Interest Company (CIC) Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences), to demand and collect the rentcharge and manage the administration of the income. A sad fact of this this CIC and reflecting poorly on them is that our MP, all MPs, the central government and the EBC and ESCC should surely have recognised but did not, is that to operate as a CIC, a majority of its board members should be from the community and be appointed by the community it charges. MPs and councillors have also completely ignored the fact that the Government's Community Interest Company (CIC) regulations require a CIC to consult its stakeholders (i.e. the residents) about its activities, and to provide high quality information rather than just the required minimum.

This CIC is offensive to the only people it charges and in no way benefits, the-then 3,119 thousand Sovereign Harbour residents, while having a beneficial interest solely to the people not in that Sovereign Harbour residents community at all but the more than 17,000 homeowners in Pevensey Bay and all the way to Bexhill-on-Sea. The non-Sovereign Harbour homeowners do not pay a penny for the environmental protection they get from the Environment Agency and Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd. Yet Sovereign Harbour residents, the only people who do pay, are not mentioned at all, not, on the websites of the SHT, its CIC and Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd appointed by The Trust, marina operator, Premier Marinas and its Wellcome Trust owner, to undertake the flood defense work until 2025 and  thereafter as appropriate, nor on their own websites. The latter contracts with a number of commercial companies to do its work. Interestingly, although it was lauded in 2001as a unique PPP/PFI, the first of its type, it has remained, not surprisingly, the only one of its type.

In an extensive article published in September, 2010 the New Civil Engineer magazine carried an article by Margo Cole about how, at Pevensey Bay, the world's  only PPP/PFI sea defence contract celebrated its 10th anniversary of protecting East Sussex from coastal flooding. But in this deeply flawed article published by the New Civil Engineer entity the writer omitted to mention the fact that Sovereign Harbour residents were (and still are) the only people paying for it, first individually via their Annual Estate Rentcharges to  the Sovereign Harbour Trust and its CIC, which then collectively pays the Environment Agency via the Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd a significant portion of the proceeds from the estate rentcharge, while all others who benefit from it pay nothing. Were any Sovereign Harbour residents consulted by the author? No. Were they consulted or told about the formation of the PPP/PFI entities? No.  It is hoped the New Civil Engineer will want to correct its errors by publishing an accurate piece which will include who and who does not pay for this sea defence; why the only people who do, Sovereign Harbour residents, are completely omitted from any mention. The world needs to know why residents and  businesses in Pevensey Bay, Pevensey Parish Council, Wealden District Council, Bexhill and beyond are getting their sea defence for free while only Sovereign Harbour residents have been paying for it. Why has this been allowed to continue for so long without Members of Parliament Huw Merriman (representing Pevensey, Wealden, Battle, Bexhill) and Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) having done anything about it? Why have the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Councillors not done the same?  Will the New Civil Engineer publish a new piece and say that the cost should be spread evenly over all, not just a few, of those who benefit from it? (It is reliably estimated that more than 17,400 people do so, with about 4,000 of them residents of Sovereign Harbour).

Surely, when other local authorities pay their cost of flood defences without imposing any charge at all to their constituents (including to the rest of Eastbourne and East Sussex) beyond their council taxes, the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, not Sovereign Harbour residents alone, should be doing the same? 

Those are two ways to be fair. But there is a third and fairest-of-all-way for this unique - not just in the UK but in Europe and all the world - payment to be made if it has to continue in this present format instead of being changed via a much more equitable revamping or complete revocation of the Eastbourne Harbour Act.. In early 2020 it was revealed to these authors by Eastbourne tourism officials that The Wellcome Trust's and Premier Marinas-owned Sovereign Harbour had about 3.4 million visitors out of the 5.2 experienced by the town. Instead of charging those 3.4 million visitors a moderate admissions fee as many other Eastbourne attractions charge, Sovereign Harbour visitors are given free access at all times by The Wellcome Trust and Premier Marinas. The fairest-of-all way would apply if the Sovereign Harbour owners would agree to recoup their costs (and make money besides) by charging those 3.4 million visitors £1.00 or so a head (instead of merely the 3,119 freehold and leasehold residents of Sovereign Harbour, as a unique 2020 Annual Estate Rentcharge of £263.55 per freehold home or leased apartment, highest in the world, irrespective of whether the property is worth £180,000 or £1.25 million. 

They could earn so much more money for the harbour's upkeep and to pay Sovereign Harbour's unique Environment Agency cost, the only one of its type anywhere in the world, a so-called public sector/private sector partnership once deemed a pioneer, but, significantly not copied, not even after 20 years, by any other UK or European or world environmental agency because

In late 2020, with the horrific expense to the UK from the series of massive floods that cased billions of £ of damage from Cornwall to the north of England, reliable news media sources including the BBC have revealed that it will be future government policy that homeowners should no longer expect to be protected environmentally from river or sea floods. Under a radical policy shift drawn up by the Environment Agency,  flooding will be seen as inevitable due to the predicted effects of climate change. Instead of spending millions on repairing as has been the case in the past, government has announced it will instead be helping people rebuild their sea water or river water damaged homes or move away from flood risk areas. Can it be safely assumed that the same government help will apply equally to all PBCD flood-hit areas, including Sovereign Harbour? Or is it just the non-Sovereign Harbour people, who are the only people paying, who will not get this benefit? If the former are not to benefit as well then this has to be referred to the Government via MPs and local councils.

As matters currently stand it has been so unfair that millions if not billions of public monies have been spent on flood repairs and improvements at no cost at all to people whose properties have been damaged or ruined in so many parts of the U.K, while Sovereign Harbour residents alone have had to pay.  Journalists know the EBC and ESCC did not object to the development once they realised the significant income they would receive from council taxes from properties built by the developers. In fact, they have benefited hugely from the much higher rate than originally projected of council taxes they receive from Sovereign Harbour residential properties.  In return for the (inflated) council taxes those residents have paid and are paying, Sovereign Harbour residents should be receiving the same flood protection at no extra cost, just as residents in all other UK counties do. And the beaches in physically in those areas and under their jurisdiction should be recognised as public beaches be open to all. 

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Areas & postal codes in alphabetical order of Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour locations and streets

Located in North, South or in-between harbours. The tidal Outer Harbour is only used for entrance to the marina through twin sea locks, which are operated 24 hours a day. It needs frequent dredging to keep the access channel from the sea to the locks open and deep enough for vessels. The local RNLI lifeboat has its own mooring there.[3] The entrance is beside Martello Tower No.66. All the harbours (Inner, South, West and North) are artificial and were dredged one after the other, after 1991. Behind the locks is the main marina called Inner Harbour. This is the central body of water and was the first harbour in use. It contains berths for both visiting and resident berth holders, as well as provides access to the other three harbours via lifting bridges. The other three are used mostly by resident berth holders as well as the local fishing vessels.

The North Harbour was later than the other harbours shown above.  This body of water is larger than the initial Inner Harbour. The two remaining harbours West and South are much smaller and in use by local residents owning a house/apartment around these waters. 

The three latest developments, in order of completion, are 

Note that even when properties are freehold owners still have to pay the annual estate rentcharge

Admiralty Court BN23 5PN. Managed by Admiralty Court Flat Management Ltd. Company number 04171938.
Admiralty Way BN23 5PP, 5PW. Properties are freehold
Anchorage Way BN23 5BE
Anguilla Close BN23 5TS
Antigua Close BN23 5SZ
Arequipa Reef BN23 5AG
Atlantic Drive BN23 5SW
Auckland Quay BN23 5AN
Barbuda Quay BN23 5SX, 5TT
Barrier Reef Way BN23 5PE
Belvedere BN23 5NJ
Bermuda Place BN23 5TE
Boston Close BN23 5RA
Brisbane Quay BN23 5PD

Callao Quay

BN23 5AA, 5AB
Campbell Mews  BN23 5AH
Canary Quay  BN23 5UT
Caroline Way BN23 5AX. 5AY
Chatham Green BN23 5PQ, 5PY
Christchurch Place BN23 5AP
Coral Reef Close BN23 5PF
Daytona Quay BN23 5BN
Dominica Court BN23 5TR
Ensenada Reef BN23 5AF
Eugene Way BN23 5BH. Part of Chatsworth Strand 5 buildings development.
Falmouth Close BN23 5RN, 5RW
Galveston Close BN23 5RH
Golden Gate Mews BN23 5PS
Golden Gate Way BN23 5PR, 5PT, 5PU
Grenada Close BN23 5TJ
Hamilton Quay BN23 5PX, 5PZ. North Harbour. With brick car parking area underneath. The most central of the harbour areas and with some of the most expensive homes.
Harbour Quay BN23 5QF, 5QG. The most common council tax band is E. Estimated residential property values, based on historical transactions and adjusted for inflation, range from £311,346 to £1,078,437 with an average of £454,758. Housing types are typically flats/apartments. 78% of house sales here since 1995 have been new builds.
Havana Court BN23 5UH
Hobart Quay BN23 5PB
Howland Close BN23 5AJ
Hudson Close BN23 5RB
Jamaica Way BN23 5UA

Johnston Place

BN23 5AS


BN23 5NH
Key West BN23 5TD
Kingston Quay BN23 5UP
La Serena Place BN23 5AE
Leeward Quay BN23 5UD
Long Beach Close BN23 5QA
Long Beach Mews BN23 5NF
Long Beach View BN23 5NA, 5NB, 5NE
Macauley Drive BN23 5BU. Approached via A259 and Pacific Drive, Sovereign Harbour North.  The northernmost part of Sovereign Harbour.  A large development by J W. Stratton begun in 2017 of 70 homes including a range of house types of 3-4 bedroom detached and semi-detached homes freehold with car port advertised in 2020 from £355,000 freehold). Freehold is not in fee simple.  And 2-bedroom apartments or flats (leasehold). 
Madeira Way BN23 5UJ, 5UL, 5UQ, 5UN. 5UG
Macquarie Quay

BN23 5AT, 5AU, 5AW.  Originally Victoria Quay. 

Martinique Way BN23 5TH, 5TR, 5TS
Midway Quay BN23 5DD, 5DE, 5DF, 5DG
Ocho Rios Mews BN23 5UB
Pacific Drive BN23 5BJ, 6DW
Palmyra Place  BN23 5AD
Phoenix Drive BN23 5PG, 5PH, 5PJ, 5PL

Pierpoint Mews 

BN23 5NL
Pitcairn Avenue BN23 5BB
Plymouth Close BN23 5RL
Port Moresby Place  BN23 5BL
Quebec Close BN23 5RJ
Salvador Close BN23 5TB
Samoa Way BN23 5BA
San Diego Way BN23 5BG. Part of Chatsworth Strand 5 buildings development.
San Juan Court BN23 5TP
Santa Cruz Drive BN23 5SS, 5ST, 5SU, 5TA, 5TU, 5TW, 5TX, 5TY, 5TZ
Santos Wharf BN23 5UR
St. Kitts Drive BN23 5TL, 5TN
St. Lawrence Mews BN23 5QD
St. Lawrence Place  BN23 5QB
St. Lawrence Way  BN23 5QE
St. Lucia Walk BN23 5SY
Silver Strand East  BN23 5NN
Silver Strand West BN23 5NP
Solomon's Close BN23 5BD
Southampton Close  BN23 5RP
Tambora Square BN23 5BT
Tasmania Way BN23 5PA
The Piazza BN23 5TG,  5TQ
The Portlands BN23 5RD
The Waterfront BN23 5UZ
Trujillo Court, Callao Quay BN23 5AB. Managed by Trujillo Court Ltd. Company no 0564090.
Vancouver Road BN23 5BF
Wellington Close BN23 5AR
Wellington Quay  BN23 5AQ
Windward Quay 5UE, 5UF
White Point BN23 5BP.

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Admiralty Court

BN23 5PN. North Harbour.  Residential units. Managed by Admiralty Court Flat Management Ltd. Company number 04171938.

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Beaches in Sovereign Harbour North and South are private, not public

Sovereign North Harbour Beach

Thousands of members of the public who are not Sovereign Harbour residents use these beaches every year, most believing, wrongly, they are publicly owned. Bay View Holiday Park, adjacent to Sovereign Harbour, tells its customers the Sovereign Harbour North beach is public. It is not. In fact, it costs owners of each Sovereign Harbour flat or house £263.55 a year as an annual Estate Rentcharge in 2020 to live here and enjoy the beaches. It is deeply resented when non-residents of Sovereign Harbour who are not guests of residents use these beaches at no charge.

If they were indeed public beaches, which they are not, they would be listed in the same way as other Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) and East Sussex County Council (ESCC) beaches. There would be be no Annual Estate Rentcharge  and the EBC would be providing some types of beach furniture. They do not. In fact, while they regularly clean and maintain other Eastbourne beaches the EBC has disclaimed any responsibility for doing so on any Sovereign Harbour beaches. In fact, the beach is maintained not by any of the private landowners of the land stretching down to the beach high water mark but by the private company Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd

Many non-residents who take advantage of these beaches abuse them by littering, leaving broken glass from bottles, vandalizing signs and plants or allowing their dogs to run free, fouling the beach. Far too many fail to pick up their dogs’ faeces. In the hottest months of June 2020 when 2 metre Covid 19 pandemic social distancing was in effect, this was routinely ignored, risking not only those who swam or cavorted or gathered or had picnics but residents in private properties near to or opposite them. Who pays for this non-residents' misuse? Residents. Once, residents willingly cleaned up the beaches and pathways resulting from non-resident litter-louts. But no longer. 

At times in June, July, August and September, it is so bad that residents of the properties opposite the beaches, who live on properties that include the beachfront across the walkways and surely have or should have some exclusivity but do not, were unable to use areas of the beaches because they are occupied by non-resident members of the public, some of whom really annoy local residents when they leave their trash and/or play radios loudly and/or allow their dogs to poop and don't clean up after them.

No cycling on walkways above the beaches! They are walkways for pedestrians and this is clearly marked on cyclists maps and by cycling organizations. Cyclists who ignore cycling restrictions and hit and injure a pedestrian who is able or disabled will find themselves in court, prosecuted by the injured. The walkways on the beach and harbour-side are accessible to both wheelchair and mobility scooters but not cycles. When a person is injured by a cyclist on a beach walkway, liability also falls to the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council.

Because it is a private beach not a public one there are no:

Beaches cannot be used by the resident or visiting disabled or those with balance or walking difficulties. Why? There is too much of a downward and upward slope of the pebbles for those with either mobility or walking problems or in a wheelchair.

Who owns them?  There are no signs stating this, as there should be. In the case of the beachfront areas opposite the five buildings of the Chatsworth Strand development off San Diego Way, the buildings are owned by Jones Homes Ltd and managing agents are Ross & Co. Other parts of the beach and beachfront are owned by the developers of the properties opposite their part of the beachfront and across the pedestrian walkway. Their properties extend from where they are all the way to the high water mark. Although responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the beach up to the high water mark, the management companies of the developments concerned have declined to undertake any maintenance or upkeep, or enforce any requirements with regard to anti-social behavior, dog fouling and litter.

Unfortunately for residents who live in the apartment buildings opposite the beaches, the public is allowed by the landlord developers of each property to use these pebble beaches.  But there is an important proviso that needs to be noted. It is that as far as the developers are concerned you do so entirely at your own risk with the developers not responsible for any land or see accident, injury or death. However, a good solicitor will challenge this blanket no-fault waiver.

These beaches are legally, geographically and physically in the town of Eastbourne's Sovereign Ward area and residents pay their council and council-tax-related taxes to both Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex Borough Council. This surely should mean that the present arrangement whereby the Pevensey Bay entity that presently exclusively both controls these beaches at the behest of the Sovereign Harbour Trust and Environment Agency and gets 3,704 local residents (but no one else) to pay for the flood defences that also cover a much wider area involving more than 17,000 residents all the way to Bexhill, should be abolished, with these beaches at long last fully incorporated into Eastbourne's listing of public town beaches. 

In 2007 Natural England designated these beaches a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. 

While the general public continues to freely use and abuse them and are not stopped by the beach owners  they should not be considered as private beaches but should be forced by the councils authorities concerned to be re-classified as public beaches. In the meantime, Sovereign Harbour beachfront area residents are not getting value for money for the beachfront flood  defence and harbour defences they alone, nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world, are required to pay to the Environment Agency.

Beaches below the high water mark are owned by the Eastbourne Borough Council and/or East Sussex Borough Council. So why don't they pay their part of the cost of annual flood protection that would come as a possible flood from the sea at these beaches, otherwise known as the Annual Estate Rentcharge, misleadingly referred to by estate agents as the Sovereign Harbour charge, covering a much wider area than just Sovereign Harbour? Payment is made solely, massively unfairly, only by the 2,400 or residents of Sovereign Harbour beachside and nearby buildings, not by any of the 17,000 other residents of the flood protection zone stretching all the way to Cooden Beach in Bexhill. 

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges. In the distance, Sovereign Harbour Martello Tower 64 at North Beach)

Nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world where there are shingle or sand or both beaches and have flood areas imposes such a charge solely on local residents. Neither beach appears on any Eastbourne town beach maps (they extend only as far as groyne number 94 the Langney roundabout, not further east). See It may be because this beach did not exist when the last Eastbourne Borough Council beach areas were last codified, generations ago. Consequently, regulations applicable to other Eastbourne beaches and relevant to control of dog-walking, dog messes and other beach activities such as barbeques, etc. that should apply here, do not. Yet the Eastbourne Borough Council has now long included the Sovereign Ward as one of its council areas for council tax, education, voting and other purposes. It needs to now amend its beaches listing to include this Sovereign North Harbour Beach (and its neighbor the Sovereign South Harbour Beach).  Until it does so, the council has been unable to act in any of the numerous complaints about dog fouling and more from local beachside and other owner residents, many of whom in fact pay more in council taxes than in other parts of Eastbourne

In Sovereign Harbour, to report  a seafront issue,  the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) states it is unable to respond. This makes the EBC the only local authority not only in the whole of the UK but also in the rest of the world with a beach in the local authority's jurisdiction over which it does not regulate or have oversight or receive complaints and it is not responsible. Thus dogs on leashes abuses are not addressed by the Eastbourne Borough Council.

North East Beach

A shingle beach, located to the north east of Eastbourne, at Sovereign Harbour North, mid-way between Langney Point and Pevensey Bay. From here, walkers can walk all the way to Pevensey Bay beach.  This beach is not connected to the Sovereign Harbour South Beach because the sea entrance to Sovereign Harbour lies between. Its principal features are the Martello Tower 64 (see below), the signposted SS Barnhill Wreck Site, see, and the spit of land at the harbour mouth from which can be seen the outer harbour of the 5-harbour Sovereign Harbour complex. 

Martello Tower 64

Martello Tower 64. Photo cc this author

South West Beach

Not connected to the Sovereign Harbour North Beach because the sea entrance to Sovereign Harbour lies between. There is no longer a  Martello Tower 65, it was claimed by the sea generations ago. Unique to South east coast of England, with only two of them ever built abroad (at then-British Army posts in Barbuda, Caribbean and Bermuda, North Atlantic). Martello Tower 64 (see on North Beach, above) and 66 (below, here in South Beach) are historic monuments. The first includes both a Martello tower and a World War II gun emplacement on top of it, The tower, which is Listed Grade II, lies around 1km north east of its surviving neighbor, tower no 66. Martello tower 64 retains many of its original components. It is one (like 66) of the surviving examples of a series of low-lying towers, designed to defend a specific stretch of coastline. The addition of a gun emplacement during World War II represents the continued significance of this defensive position well into the 20th century.  Martello towers were gun towers constructed to defend the vulnerable south eastern coast of England against the threat of ship-borne invasion by Napoleonic forces. They were built as a systematic chain of defence in two phases, between 1805-1810 along the coasts of East Sussex and Kent, and between 1808- 1812 along the coasts of Essex and Suffolk. They are referred to as Martello Towers because their design was based on a fortified tower at Martello Point in Corsica which had put up a prolonged resistance to British forces in 1793. 

Martello Tower 66

South Harbour Beach with Martello Tower 66

The towers take the form of compact, free-standing circular buildings on three levels built of rendered brick. The towers were numbered 1-74 from east to west, while those of the east coast were identified by a system of letters (A-Z, and then AA-CC) from south to north. Although they exhibit a marked uniformity of design, minor variations are discernible between the southern and eastern groups and amongst individual towers, due mainly to the practice of entrusting their construction to local sub-contractors. Most southern towers are elliptical in plan, whilst the eastern group are oval or cam-shaped externally, with axes at the base ranging between 14.4m by 13.5m and 16.9m by 17.7m. All are circular internally, the battered (inwardly sloping) walls of varying thicknesses, but with the thickest section invariably facing the seaward side. Most stand to a height of around 10m. Many Martello towers are surrounded by dry moats originally encircled by counterscarp banks, and/or have cunettes (narrower water defences) situated at the foot of the tower wall. The ground floor was used for storage, with accommodation for the garrison provided on the first floor, and the main gun platform on the roof. The southern towers carried a single 24 pounder cannon, whilst the eastern line carried three guns (usually a 24 pounder cannon and two shorter guns or howitzers). Three large, circular ten- gun towers known as redoubts were also constructed at particularly vulnerable points, at Dymchurch, Eastbourne and Harwich. As the expected Napoleonic invasion attempt did not materialize, the defensive strength of the Martello tower system was never tested, and the tower design was soon rendered obsolete by new developments in heavy artillery. Many were abandoned and fell into decay or were demolished during the 19th century, although some continued in use into the 20th century as signaling or coastguard stations and a few saw use as look out points or gun emplacements during the two World Wars. Of the original 74 towers on the south coast, 26 now survive, and of the 29 on the east coast, 17 now survive. Those which survive well and display a diversity of original components are considered to merit protection.

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Books about the area and Crumbles Murders 

The area now part of the harbour was once known as the Crumbles. Books include:

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There are several to cross over by foot or bike or mobility scooter only, no cars allowed. In the photo below, the main moving bridge is shown. 

Sovereign Harbour bridge

When in the raised position as in the photo, only vessels can pass underneath, to get to or from Sovereign Harbour North. All pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters must wait before they can get to or from The Waterfront with its nice restaurants and shops and, a short distance away, The busy Crumbles retail shopping centre. The bridge opens frequently daily, by pre-arranged signal from Sovereign Harbour berth holders or visitors or the harbours' tour boat. 

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Bus Times

From Sovereign Harbour North, Pacific Drive. Routes 5 (Monday to Saturday) and 5a (Sundays and Bank Holidays), to/from Eastbourne. Terminus Road, normally 24 minutes. 


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Churches/Places of Worship

None in Sovereign Harbour itself but several are close by.


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Citizen's Advice Bureau, Eastbourne


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Columbus Point Water Feature 

 2020 cost per residential unit in the water feature precinct is over £315 per year. See 

Sovereign Harbour South.  This anchor-shaped water feature, comprising canals, cascades and fountains, is one of the largest of its type in Europe and runs much of the private residential area of Columbus Point in Sovereign Harbour South. Owners of 369 residential properties in the area are covenanted in their deeds to pay for the management, running and maintenance of the water feature. Water in the feature is dosed with chemicals to restrict algae growth, this entering the water is prohibited, should not be paddled or stepped or swum in. The annual cost to neighboring residents is not noted in any estate agent marketing. (There is an additional covenant, the Annual Estate Rental Charge, wrongly referred to as merely a Harbour Charge, £263.55 in 2020, also not noted on most estate agents property listings).

Columbus Point Water Feature

part of Columbus Point Water Feature

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Community Centre

Sovereign Harbour Community Centre locationFinally opened in November 2019.  Site 6, Easter Island Place instead of Site 5 as approved/decided in 2012, of modular construction.  Phone 01323 509859 to make bookings.  

Has a schedule of charges for entities to hold meetings. 

Firmly promised by local councillors in April 2018. Should have been built in 2005. Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Council both stated it would be completed before councils allowed any construction of new residential buildings but buildings came first by over 15 years. 

Changes galore resulted in the final plan being about 25% reduced in size compared to the original. The project cost over £1.6 million, with £800,000 pledged from Carillion/SHL (since liquidated in January 2018) but paid up, £400,000 from Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) and £400,000 from the East Sussex County Council. 

Ownership of the facility is vested in the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). The  EBC appointed Sea Change Sussex, a not-for-profit economic development company, to oversee delivery of the project after the former Sovereign Harbour Community Association, once envisaged to manage the complex and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association both declined to get involved. 

Managed by Wave Leisure Trust, a charitable not-for-profit trust. The facility has a kitchen but when completed and opened contained no kitchen equipment such as a sink, stove, etc - unlike all other community centres in all four devolved countries of the UK. 


Planned new Sovereign Harbour Community CentreSovereign Harbour Community Centre again

Artist's impressions of planned new Sovereign Harbour Community Centre

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Sovereign Harbour North 3

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Harbour North, another part of marina. Photo cc Keith and Lois Forbes

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Cycling is OK only on Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive

Only the marked cycle way pavements along Atlantic and Pacific Drives in South and North Harbours respectively, should be used by cyclists. They are shared with pedestrians and are marked as shown below.

marked cycle route on left, shared with pedestrians, right

All  pathways, footways, walkways of inner and outer Sovereign Harbour without the cycle route sign shown are not cycle routes. If they were they would have signs. Eastbourne Borough Council, in which Sovereign Ward councillors are a part, have made it a point to BAN cyclists along much of Eastbourne's much wider beachfront and seafront promenade. But they ALLOW cyclists to ride along the much narrower pathways and footways of beachfront and seafront Sovereign Harbour.

On the Eastbourne Promenade, 6 metres wide, signs state NO Cycling, an Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) byelaw. 

No cycling sign 1 on Eastbourne Promenade

No cycling sign 2 on Eastbourne Promenade

But on the Sovereign Harbour North Beach walkway, 2 metres wide - a third of the width of the Eastbourne Promenade - the EBC allows cyclists. 

cyclistsOf particular concern to residents is the daily misuse by cyclists of Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways. Every day, individual cyclists or couples on cycles and often their children on bikes go alongside each other, regularly.  Single and groups of cyclists mis-use the Sovereign Harbour North beachfront narrow footpath, going very fast or ringing their bells or shouting at walkers to get out their way, or weaving in between walkers and frightening them. When residents walking carefully and slowly have attempted to speak to and reason with them, they are often abused by cyclists, told to shut up or are sworn at. One Sovereign Harbour North Beach walkway, only nine feet wide, was built for walkers, not cyclists who often outnumber the walkers. Cyclists deliberately ignore the established and clearly cycle-marked pavements of Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive with their wide purpose-built pavement built as a shared way for both pedestrians and cyclists. They unfairly demand and mis-use the scenic pedestrian or walking pathways and almost totally ignore the established cycle routes. 

Many Sovereign Harbour residents are slow and awkward walkers with constant balance and risk-of-falling problems on narrow walkways. They and their carers who walk alongside them because they need to be close to them for if and when they fall , need plenty of space for this. When they are forced to make way - as they all too often are - for fast or furious or groups of cyclists who refuse to make way to these walkers, serious accidents could happen and have happened, with the innocent parties requiring medical attention. 

Residents really suffer from the attitudes of many cyclists, particularly including those who are not resident but are holiday lodging at the three nearby caravan parks less than a mile away to the east. They treat this private pathway and other harbour areas not as private pathways but as public cycle routes. 

They do not pay any cycle taxes, have caused thousands of accidents with walkers, and surely, in this day and age, if they want more rights, should be taxed for the roads they use and fined for the non-cycle paths they deliberately and often contemptuously misuse  They want to be able to ride cost free from Eastbourne to Bexhill on Sea, right through Sovereign Harbour.  

The menace of Bespoke. The cycling organization Bespoke has campaigned for over 10 years to allow unrestricted cycling on Eastbourne's promenade despite an EBC bye-law that has prohibited this for good reasons, one of them being that Eastbourne has the highest concentration of elderly, vulnerable and mobility-impaired people in the entire UK and the EBC as well as police have a statutory public authority duty under the UK's Equality Act to give particular care and attention to the disabled and vulnerable, many of whom, on the flat and wide paved promenade pathway, have the space to walk accompanied by carers at their side. Bespoke has also indicated it demands similar access to Sovereign Harbour. Bespoke refuses to condemn shared areas. Nor has Bespoke ever conceded that cycling amongst pedestrians even on fast moving electric bikes is potentially unsafe, or expressed any concerns that it is dangerous to older and disabled residents.

What we hope will be of particular relevance is something not mentioned at all elsewhere to the best of our knowledge and belief. It may perhaps be deliberately omitted. It is a particularly significant and hopefully overriding fact. It is that all Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways are on private, not public, land. So how can they possibly be considered by any Member of Parliament or parliamentary committee or Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex Borough Council for any public cyclist usage? Because of this they should not be compared - yet have been - to any other public areas or roads or pathways in the UK or Europe or world where cycling is permitted and encouraged by local, regional and national authorities as an active exercise.  

Sovereign Harbour Councillors from the Eastbourne Borough Council illegally - in clear defiance of the Equality Act and its provisions - allow instead of prohibiting cyclists to ride on privately owned Sovereign Harbour walkways, pathways and footpaths, often dangerously in defiance of walkers, pedestrians, runners, the  elderly, vulnerable, disabled and children. Councillors should be protecting and supporting their constituents by (a) realizing that under the Equality Act cyclists should walk not ride their cycles so as not to have a speed advantage over pedestrians and the vulnerable and (b) requiring cyclists to keep to the registered cycle track shared areas of council-adopted Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

Cyclists, councillors and more need to know that recently from a Guardian newspaper report - see - that a cyclist who knocked over a woman who was looking at her mobile phone while crossing a road was then was successfully sued by the woman concerned. Both the cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, a garden designer, and the pedestrian, Gemma Brushett, who works in finance and also ran yoga retreats, were left unconscious after the rush-hour collision in July 2015. The case exposed how vulnerable uninsured cyclists are to expensive civil claims if they are involved in accidents. Brushett’s lawyers had claimed costs of £112,000 – a sum that would have left Hazeldean facing bankruptcy since he was uninsured. Hazeldean later agreed to settle the case for £30,000 on top of damages of £4,300 and his own costs of more than £25,000.  This case will be worrying for uninsured cyclists in Sovereign Harbour and the councils concerned who do not object to cyclists using and misusing the harbour's walkways and pathways. 

Councillors allow instead of prohibit cyclists to ride on Sovereign Harbour walkways, pathways and footpaths, often dangerously in defiance of walkers, pedestrians, runners, the  elderly, vulnerable, disabled and children, despite Covid 19 social distancing orders from central government.

Councillors should be protecting and supporting their constituents by (a) realizing that under the Equality Act cyclists should walk not ride their cycles so as not to have a speed advantage over pedestrians and the vulnerable and (b) requiring cyclists to keep to the registered cycle track shared areas of council-adopted Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

With Covid 19 so prevalent in the UK since March 2020, EBC councillors are not insisting as they should and as central government requires all including councillors to abide by, that social distancing be as mandatory on Sovereign Harbour's walkways and pavements as they are elsewhere. Two cyclists passing in opposite direction need approximately three metres of space to maintain a two metre gap. On a two metre path, such as exists long Sovereign Harbour North's beachfront, social distancing is impossible. Thus such paths need to be closed to cyclists instead of councillors permitting them. It is time County and Borough adhered to government's central advice on what constitutes quality walking and cycling  active travel) strategies.

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Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (ESHDA)

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Eastbourne Borough  Council and East Sussex County Council Councillors for Sovereign Harbour

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Eastbourne Lifeboat RNLI

Based in Sovereign Harbour. See 

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Environment Agency requires Sovereign Harbour residents alone to pay an annual surcharge for flood defence

No other residents in the whole of the UK or Europe or the world have to pay a similar surcharge. It is paid as part of the annual estate rentcharge - see levied on all freehold and leasehold Sovereign Harbour property owners by the privately owned (by The Wellcome Trust's and Premier Marinas Ltd's Sovereign Harbour Trust - see and paid by its subsidiary to the Environment Agency. Nor is it payable by residents of any other Premier Marinas or other harbours. 

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Estate Agents marketing local properties who ignore Code of Practice effective 1 October 2015

They do not specify upfront but should that all owners and their successors of Sovereign Harbour properties offered for sale incur, uniquely in the UK, Europe and the World, a very expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge. See Code of Practice for All Residential Estate Agents at In particular, re Published Material and Information about a Property, see 7i, 7j, 7k, 7l, 7m which state this emphatically. Plus, many estate agents indicate mortgages are available. In fact, many mortgage companies, if they approve mortgages at all for properties affected by an annual estate rentcharge, which many do not for legal reasons, will require those granted a mortgage to take out appropriate additional insurance. 

For Sale sign

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

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Fisherman's Quay

Fisherman's Quay

Phase 1 of construction has commenced, following a Government grant of £1.08 million via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. A newly formed Community Interest Company will be dealing with the acquisition and management of the quay in the future. Current plans allow for a range of traditional black net huts, all built from sustainable and considerate materials, workshops, offices, wet-fish sales and a fishing 'learning centre', perhaps with an aquarium of local fish species. There will also be a 'fish-market' promenade and consideration is being given to a a cuttle-fish breeding station to provide for local stocks of cuttle-fish for the future. When the current phase in completed there will be space for cold storage and fish processing  plus a retail sales shop for locally caught fish. It will then be interesting to see compare prices of this Fisherman's Quay unit with those of the fish shop in Eastbourne where some Sovereign Harbour residents go, and prices at ASDA and Tesco. Currently, prices of fish are appreciatively less expensive at supermarkets than at the fish shops. 

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Flood zones areas 

For home and/or content for insurance. Residents should inform their insurers about the following:

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Hamilton Quay

Hamilton Quay. Each residential unit shown is subject to an Annual Estate Rentcharge

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Harbour Medical Practice

1 Pacific Avenue, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6DW. Phone 01323 470370. Be prepared to wait for as much as 15 minutes (costing up to £5 a call with a pay-as-you-go mobile phone) at certain times of day, with an endlessly repetitive message)  to make an appointment. See With the Covid 19 crisis no drop-in without an appointment visits are allowed. One of the largest medical practice's in the country, with about 7,500 NHS patients in and beyond Sovereign Harbour North and South. A good practice, a first-class facility, with doctors, nurses and support staff, in a modern building with its own spacious car park and 2 disabled access bays immediately in front of the building. Patients requiring hospitalization are sent to Eastbourne General Hospital or Conquest Hospital in St. Leonard's in Hastings, or, when needed, Royal Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and Guys Hospital in London. The practice has a Patient Participation Group (PPG)

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Harbour Multi-purpose bins installed due to dog poo, litter and rubbish 300% increase since Covid 19

New multi-use ones, for dog poo, litter and rubbish, have been installed around the harbour (but not on the North and South harbour beaches) following numerous requests from residents for more bins. This is because since the Covid-19 lockdown mostly non-residents (who presently do not pay to enter and enjoy the amenities of the harbour) and some residents have vastly increased their non-pickup of their dog poo deposits and purchased at least 300% more take-away foods than ever before, the packaging of which has been left on the walkways, particularly on the Harbour walkways close to the Waterfront complex, to much concern. To help fund the cost of the new bins £2,000 was donated by Sovereign Ward councillors from their Devolved Budget.  (This has also made residents more aware than ever before -  because they, not the non-resident public who visit but don't pay anything, are the ones who have to pay for the cleanup in their annual Estate Rentcharges - of the need for non-residents to at least pay a token fee of £1 per visit. 

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Harbour Police

Patrol occasionally. When in attendance they operate from the town of Eastbourne, not from a local station.

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Harbour apartment/flat rentals

There are lots of websites advising of the availability of these for both short term (by the week, fortnight or month) and long-term (a year or more) rentals but none give all the salient facts which should include:

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Harbour Seating

Not available in all areas of the harbour for casual passers-by or those who are disabled or mobility impaired, cannot walk far and need a bench to stop. The problem is that the Eastbourne Borough Council is apparently required to consult residents within 50 metres of the proposed seats. In the past, residents who were consulted objected on the grounds that seating would cause rowdy behaviour and so the council did not feel able to support the installation of such seating. However, experience with existing seating, such as that near Midway Quay, suggests that this is not the case. Local officials have proposed extra seating benches in the inner harbour and outer harbour. It is hoped they will be sited as far as possible from local flats and houses in the hope that no significant objections will be raised. However, social distancing requirements mean that it is difficult to make progress with these plans.

Part of Sovereign Harbour at dusk. Photo cc these authors, Keith and Lois Forbes

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Hotels nearby

None. Initially, the White Point site mentioned by name below was earmarked for an hotel, with plenty of parking. Later, this was withdrawn, much to the disappointment of Sovereign Harbour residents who object to having to go not close by but all the way into town in usually heavy traffic to find a good hotel with limited or no parking. The nearest budget hotel, several miles away, is a Premier Inn. 

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Internet and WIFI restriction and non-resident interference

Berth holders have a separate WIFI option through Premier Marinas

For land-based residents in most of Sovereign Harbour who want more than basic Broadband (ADSL), most Superfast (FTTC) services are available but not Ultrafast (FTTP). Services like Virgin Media Ultrafast Fibre are unfortunately not available in Sovereign Harbour, even after four years of some Sovereign Harbour residents having expressed specific interest. But in late 2020 some areas of Sovereign Harbour South are now able to get fibre-to-fibre coverage.

Broadband types

With no Sovereign Harbour residents leasehold and freehold having exclusive use of the communal areas of the private lands on where they live, owned by the developers of their properties, beachside and harbour-side residents should note that casual passers-by including people who do not live in Sovereign Harbour, who walk or cycle along Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways near their homes, will poach their WIFI signals if they are not appropriately protected. Campers from nearby campsites in Pevensey Bay are often seen with their mobile phones or tablets walking and mobile-phone talking along Sovereign Harbour and beaches pathways and walkways. Many properties along them have WIFI signals which can be captured 50-100 feet away on those pathways and walkways. In other areas beyond Sovereign Harbour, private lands give their private residents exclusive access to their lands, not public use, and their WIFI cannot be reached by the non-resident public.

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Locks & Procedure

Open 24 hours a day at specific or pre-ordered times, with a signal showing green or red. All vessels need  to pass through a lock to get to or from the sea. At the lock entrance, when closed to marine traffic a narrow iron pedestrian bridge allows pedestrians to walk from North to South Harbours and beyond. When open to marine traffic the bridge is closed to pedestrians.

Sovereign Harbour Lock

In the photo, the lock is empty but in spring, summer and autumn it is often full of yachts and motor boats, with curious onlookers on either side.

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Macauley Drive

Approached via A259 and Pacific Drive, Sovereign Harbour North.  The northernmost part of Sovereign Harbour.  A large development by J W. Stratton begun in 2017 of 70 homes including a range of house types of 3-4 bedroom detached and semi-detached homes freehold with car port advertised in 2020 from £355,000 freehold). Freehold is not in fee simple.  And 2-bedroom apartments or flats (leasehold). All are subject to an management fee and like the rest of Sovereign Harbour, to the latter's unique-in-the-world Annual Estate Rentcharge, a fact not stated in the marketing brochures.  The builder/developer paid a premium to the local authorities to ensure there no social/affordable housing included in this development. The contemporary style of the architectural design is reflected in the specification and finish. Adjacent to the development will be a fully landscaped open space with planting, footpaths etc. This was a condition of the planning assent for the development and one of the stipulations was that it needed to be completed prior to occupation of 40% of the units on site. The present committee has had discussions with the developer and improvements to the plans have been agreed. These include planting trees and additional seating. Eastbourne Borough Council was required to liaise with the developer to align the plant species closer with the councils’ pollinator policy and will look at wildflower planting in some areas. Occupants, all owners or leaseholders in Sovereign Harbour and paying annual estate rentcharge fees, have access to all Sovereign Harbour facilities. The Eastbourne Borough Council is required to install a pedestrian crossing on Pacific Drive and East Sussex County Council a bus shelter on Pevensey Bay Road.

Macauley Place

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

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Macquarie Quay

Macquarie Key also showing harrbour-side penestrian footpath

BN23 5AT, 5AU, 5AW.  Originally Victoria Quay. The most central of all Sovereign Harbour properties. In North Harbour it faces the Inner Harbour. The development was completed around 2005 by Persimmon Homes. It consists of 175 properties (147 apartments and 28 town houses). It was later renamed Macquarie Quay, but the management company name has remained the same, Victoria Quay Management Company Ltd. The board of directors, consists of voluntary freeholder / leaseholder (residents), have a duty of care to the other freeholder / leaseholders to oversee the smooth running of the site. Those directors appointed Sensible Property Management as the managing agent for the development. They are the first point of contact for residents to acquire service or information. The directors also appointed Plummer Parsons Ltd, as the company accountants.  Their address is the registered office for Victoria Quay management company Ltd. Some flats face the sea, others the inner harbour with a few looking out to the north to other buildings.

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Martello Tower 64

Site 9. North Harbour Beach opposite Caroline Way. The Martello Tower is a Grade II Listed Building and a Scheduled Monument.  It is owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. who have retained access to the building from Caroline Way.  The building is currently in a poor state of repair and is on the buildings at risk register. The Tower could in principle be converted into an alternative use, and because it is important to secure the long term repair and maintenance of the Tower, conversion could be supported subject to discussion with English Heritage.  However, given its remote and exposed location, and due to its poor state of repair and the associated costs of refurbishment, conversion is considered unlikely.

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Member of Parliament

Caroline Ansell, since December 12, 2019, Eastbourne & Willingdon.
Conservative. Phone 01323 734940. Email Website If you try to reach her by email you may or will get this message.  "As I’m sure you will understand I receive a large number of emails, letters and phone calls each day and I will try to reply to you as quickly as possible. If you are one of my constituents, please ensure you have included your full name and address. If you haven’t, please resend your email with this information. Please note that Parliamentary rules prevent an MP dealing with enquiries from another MP’s constituents. Please note that if you copy me in to an email, its contents will be noted but no further action will be taken unless it is part of a piece of ongoing casework."

In 2020 she was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.The unpaid promotion means she becomes the ‘eyes and ears’ of the minister in parliament and liaises with MPs on his behalf. She was given this role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and believes Eastbourne will benefit as it is a coastal and a rural constituency and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Bills going through parliament in 2020. DEFRA is driving these landmark pieces of legislation to protect the environment, tackle plastic pollution, improve air and water quality and incentivise farmers to enhance soil quality and further raise environmental and animal welfare standards.

She has said: “These are issues at the heart of what many Eastbourne and Willingdon residents care about and they will very much tie in with the town’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.” But nothing has been stated by our MP about at last freeing Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour at long last from the substantial annual estate rentcharges freeholders andd leaseholders are have to pay that all other parts of Eastbourne do not; the flood defence charges Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders also have to pay to the Environment Agency that all other homeowners in all other parts of both Eastbourne and the rest of the UK do not.

A PPS is not technically part of the government however, they are expected to support it in votes and must resign if they vote against the government. Which means in effect that Caroline Ansell is presently unwilling or unable to make an individual MP's case about these unique-to-Sovereign Harbour injustices with other Conservative MPs including Huw Merriman whose Bexhill & Battle constituency is next door to Eastbourne and whose 14.400 or so constituent freeholders pay nothing for flood defence over and above their general taxes, unlike the 4,200 or so Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders who alone in the UK, Europe and the world have to pay £263.55 in addition to their general taxes per home in 2020. 

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Money-saving tips when shopping locally

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Natural England demands full access to Sovereign Harbour at no cost to visitors

Natural England olan

It declared in 2019 that it intends, as a Government agency, to declare every part of Britain's coastal areas fully accessible to the general public. Will this mean that Sovereign Harbour resident property owners, presently the only people in the world who pay a private estate's annual estate rentcharge but with the general public paying nothing to have full access to Sovereign Harbour footpaths, pathways and walkways, will no longer have to pay? 

The 33-mile (53km) route aims to improve access along the East Sussex coast, and the public was invited to have their say on it. Natural England has unveiled the proposals that take in the well-known stretch of coastline, including Pevensey Bay, Bexhill and Hastings, Hastings Cliffs, Pett Level, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and the popular Camber Sands beach. It will be the first time there has been a continuous way-marked path along the East Sussex coast. Walkers will be able to access great views of coastal wildlife, habitats and maritime pursuits, passing through rural and tranquil areas, in addition to some historic urban and rural communities. This route links the South Downs Way at Eastbourne to the rest of the Sussex coastline, giving walkers the opportunity to explore along the coast to the iconic sand dunes at Camber. The trail will include a variety of spectacles such as the wooded glens at Hastings Country Park and the bird life at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which can be observed through the bird-watching hides. This is the third stretch of the England Coast Path to be developed in East Sussex. The route between Shoreham by Sea and Eastbourne has already been approved by the Secretary of State and is expected to open later this year. The route between Camber and Folkestone was opened in July 2016. Owners and occupiers of affected land were invited to make objections about the reports on specified grounds, which will be considered by a Planning Inspector before the Secretary of State makes a final decision. All representations and objections had to be received by Natural England no later than midnight on Thursday, April 23, 2020. This author did so and pointed out what Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay that others don't.   How many others bothered? 

Relevant sections of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”) reveal how Natural England aims to improve public access to, and enjoyment of, the English coastline by creating clear and consistent public rights along the English coast for most types of open-air recreation on foot. It allows existing coastal access to be secured and improved and new access to be created in coastal places where it did not already exist. Section 296 of the 2009 Act places a duty on Natural England to use its powers to secure twin objectives for coastal access, one relating to a long-distance walking route (or routes) around the English coast (“the English coastal route”), the other to an accessible margin of land in association with the route where people will be able to spread out and explore, rest or picnic in appropriate places as well as walking along the coast (“the coastal margin”). Section 298 of the 2009 Act requires Natural England to prepare a Scheme setting out the approach it will take to discharging the coastal access duty. The Scheme therefore describes the approach in relation to this duty. It does not explain the approach to related objectives, such as wider public access benefits for horse riders or cyclists, or improvements to the coastal environment. This version of the Scheme was approved by the Secretary of State on 23 March 2010 and is the basis on which Natural England will prepare recommendations, in the form of reports to the Secretary of State, in relation to both objectives included in the coastal access duty.

Reports may include recommendations on both the extent and the management of coastal access. The Scheme therefore explains how it is decided where it is necessary to restrict or exclude coastal access rights locally, using the powers available to us under chapter 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (“CROW”), including consideration of other management options that may be appropriate in particular circumstances. Natural England’s statutory guidance to the CROW relevant authorities2 on their functions in relation to local restrictions and exclusions 3 (the “relevant authority guidance”) provides similar guidance to the relevant authorities in relation to their decisions about the need for local restrictions and exclusions on other land with access rights provided under Part 1 of CROW. To avoid unnecessary repetition, the Scheme occasionally refers to particular parts of the relevant authority guidance which explain procedural aspects of the two regimes, where they are identical.

Natural England may review the Scheme at any time. However, section 299(2) of the 2009 Act requires us to complete an initial review of the Scheme within three years of 23 March 2010, which is the date on which the Scheme was approved. Natural England must also publish a report of the initial review (and of any subsequent review that it undertakes) as soon as practicable after completion. As part of any formal review of the Scheme, Natural England will invite organisations who have been involved in the implementation of its coastal access duty (and others, if considered appropriate at the time) to give us their views on it. Legislation referred to in the Scheme is published at

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Nearest Airports

Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, is about 3 miles or 20-40 minutes depending on traffic by car from the Eastbourne town centre, around 18 miles east of Brighton and approximately 20 miles west of Hastings, with the A27 connecting all three locations.

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Pacific House

Innovation Park. A 2,300 metre office block at the entrance to Pacific Drive, North Harbour. Can accommodate up to 70 small to medium business entities, or fewer larger ones. With its own spacious parking area. Of all the available office spaces in Eastbourne and nearby, this is the most expensive by far, as revealed in November 2019.

Pacific House

Pacific House 

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Parking for residents

There are many separately managed multi-unit buildings, each with their own policy.
Individual developments have off-road parking, with their private parking areas numbered, often with only one car per flat. one per flat. They may also have a few spaces for visitor parking. In comparison, in the USA. Canada, Europe and elsewhere, the norm since 2017 is one parking space for a one-bedroom apartment, two for a two-bedroom and three for a three-bedroom or more unit, plus 20% more of the parking spaces for visitor parking. But in Sovereign Harbour, cars are often parked adjacent to dropped kerbs, obstructing access to the disabled on scooters or partly on pavements, obstructing passers-by, and impeding access for large emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines. Cars outside 14 San Diego Way, North Harbour constantly cause this problem. When flat-owners and car owners create the problems with their badly parked cars and deaths or life-threatening permanent injuries result,  lawsuits could be filed. 

No Disabled Parking Bay at your home. There are no specified and legally enforceable disabled parking spaces at any of the units of flats in the Sovereign Harbour area in their below-building or adjacent parking areas. The lack of disabled parking nearly everywhere is a major problem to residents who are disabled. Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council do not follow the example of European Union, USA and Canadian jurisdictions in requiring developers of private-area properties to have the same disability parking laws and provisions as in public or town or city areas. Eastbourne Police refuse to ticket disabled parking miscreants.

Retail and shopping areas disabled parking areas. 60 are available at the Crumbles in front of ASDA and other stores  and 20 at the Waterfront complex. ASDA is complemented for having the largest number seen to date at any supermarket shopping centre in the UK. Unfortunately, again, Eastbourne Police refuse to ticket disabled parking miscreants.

The Waterfront complex (see describes Sovereign Harbour in which it is located as "Eastbourne's international experience" 

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Pets and pets policy

Pets not allowed in apartments and flats

Presently most Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings where residents are leasehold not freehold do not allow pets and this is specifically stated in most if not all of their leases.  But this does not apply in Sovereign Harbour freehold homes. Every day, pet owners both resident and non-resident walk their dogs on the two Sovereign Harbour beaches and most are careful to pick up their dog's messes. But some do not, to the disgust of other residents who, in wet months especially, will walk on the messes. 

2020. 4 January. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP today called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes as he announced an overhaul of the model tenancy contracts. More young people and families than ever before are renting or leasing and should be able to enjoy the happiness that a pet can bring to their lives. However, currently only around 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets, meaning many people struggle to find a home suitable for themselves and their pets. Some have been forced to give up their pets all together simply because they have been unable to move into a rented property with one. But the government’s model tenancy contracts for renters, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants, will now be revised to remove restrictions on well behaved pets - to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible. The government is clear there should be a balance with responsible pet owners not being penalized and landlords being more flexible in their approach, and it is right that landlords’ properties should be protected from damage by badly behaved pets. But total bans on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. 

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: "Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property. So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both. This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognizing that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country." A revised model tenancy agreement is expected to be published by the government later this year.

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Pevensey Bay nearby 

East of Sovereign Harbour, extending nearly to Bexhill-On-Sea.  

Pevensey Parish Council. The modern parish of Pevensey has a population of approximately 4,000. It is situated in the district of Wealden (which has a supervisory Wealden District Council) in East Sussex, England, midway between the coastal towns of Eastbourne and Bexhill. It comprises the ancient village of Pevensey, the larger seaside resort of Pevensey Bay and some twelve kilometres of farmland on Pevensey Levels.

Pevensey Park Homes nuisances

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Port Moresby Place

Admiral John MoresbyBoth this Port Moresby Place in Eastbourne and Port Moresby in Papua named after Admiral John Moresby, Royal Navy. Moresby was born in Allerford, Somerset, England, the son of Eliza Louisa and Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby. He joined the navy at an early age as a Volunteer 1st Class in HMS Victor, and rose to be in charge of the 1,031 ton paddle steamer cruiser HMS Basilisk in which he made hydrological surveys around eastern New Guinea. During the survey of the southern coast he discovered the harbour which he named Fairfax after his father. The town established there, based on already existing native villages (principally Hanuabada) was named Port Moresby and is now the nation's capital. Admiral John Moresby was also searching for a shorter route between Australia and China and on the eastern tip of the island he discovered the China Strait. He continued exploring along the north west coast as far as the Huon Gulf. On 29 September 1876, Moresby took command of HMS Endymion, remaining in this position until 6 March 1878. He was later promoted to rear admiral and died on 12 July 1922 in Fareham, Hampshire, England.

Sovereign Harbour's Port Moresby Place is a newly constructed semi-detached harbour front development of just eight houses with panoramic sea views over the inner harbour and the downs beyond. Sliding fully-glazed doors from the principal rooms lead to a terrace, with two upper balconies that fully exploit the glorious views. State-of-the-art design features include gas under-floor heating, bespoke kitchen units with work surfaces and a range of integrated NEFF appliances. Sanitary ware was supplied by Villeroy and Boch. Other benefits include a utility room, double garage and additional visitor parking. The Waterfront, where there are a range of cafes, bars and restaurants is within level walking distance.

Port Moresby, 8 residences, 4 buildings

Port Moresby Place, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne BN23 5BL. 4 buildings, two homes in each, Units 1-8

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges. Port Moresby Management Ltd, see

Tenure: Leasehold. With each of the 8 homes in these four buildings having:

Front door. Entrance hall. Kitchen - 22'0" (6.71m) x 22'0" (6.71m). Terrace - 22'6" (6.86m) x 17'6" (5.33m). Cloakroom. Bedroom 2 - 14'6" (4.42m) x 10'0" (3.05m). Ensuite shower room.

First floor. Living room - 22'6" (6.86m) x 23'0" (7.01m). Balcony. Bedroom 3 3 - 15'6" (4.72m) x 8'9" (2.67m). Jack & Jill en suite. Bedroom 4/Study - 10'9" (3.28m) x 8'3" (2.51m).

Second floor. Master bedroom- 17'0" (5.18m) x 11'0" (3.35m). Terrace. Dressing room - 11'0" (3.35m) x 7'6" (2.29m). Bathroom. 

Lower ground floor. Utility Room. Double Garage. Visitors Parking. Leasehold, 999 year lease. Ground Rent, Peppercorn. Council Tax: H

Sales Record for each unit

This development is on 0.3 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. It is a narrow strip of land at the far end of the North Harbour bordering Pacific Drive. Consent was given for this land to be used as a berth-holder car park, and purchasers of adjacent properties were given assurances that there would be no residential development on this plot. However, the Eastbourne Borough Council allowed this to be reneged. The car park was never constructed and Sovereign Harbour Ltd acted aggressively to persuade the Borough Council that it should be used for high-density, high-rise residential development. The Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) had identified this site as ideal for a marina-side public open space. It was agreed between the EBC and Sovereign Harbour Ltd  that this would be funded by the construction of eight high quality homes, for which planning consent was granted under the name  Port Moresby Place The plan required 50% of the site, the land closest to the marina, to be paved and landscaped for public use.  A condition of the consent was that the public open space was to be completed before two thirds of the homes are sold.  This conditions was not met and in July 2018 EBC enforced the condition resulting in the sale of the final property being put on hold for four months.  With the open space almost complete the sale was eventually allowed to go through in December 2018. The open space was not fully completed until late 2019.

On harbour-side are several areas where boats can be docked, but none so far have used them. What really annoys other Sovereign Harbour Residents who live further down from this site is how and why cars and vans are constantly parked outside on the main Pacific Drive road, partially blocking it, yet there is plenty of both assigned and unassigned parking within the development. Residents tenants opposite this development on the other side of the road were cheated by the Eastbourne Borough Council and Sovereign Harbour Ltd out of their earlier-promised unrestricted view of the harbour when the local authority and Sovereign Harbour Ltd reneged on their promise and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association did not come to their defence,

An Australian family who visited Eastbourne recently and viewed this development commented that there are very similar-looking buildings in Australia but they are not private homes, instead a prison farm headquarters buildings. Anyway, the name has stuck and when some local residents pass by this development with its buildings so unlike those of other properties, they refer to them not as Port Moresby Place but because they look more squat and white and not ordinarily residential, as Prison Farm HQ buildings.

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Residents Leisure Card

Sovereign Harbour residents qualify for this Eastbourne Borough Council discount parking concession at certain local facilities beyond the harbour.

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Roundabouts in and near Sovereign Harbour

In Sovereign Harbour's 330 acres there are roundabouts galore, 5 between the entrance to Sovereign Harbour North at the 259 and roundabout exit on Pacific Drive. From there, to go to the nearest shopping centre at Sovereign Village Retail Park, a quarter of a mile west, three are 3 further roundabouts. Eastbourne roads are so full of roundabouts and busy roads that a 2 mile journey can often take a maddening 40 minutes. 

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Royal Sovereign Lighthouse offshore, until later in 2020

end of Royal Sovereign Lighthouse Located five miles offshore directly opposite easternmost Sovereign Harbour. Scheduled for demolition later in 2020. Trinity House began preparation work to decommission Royal Sovereign Lighthouse. With a farewell blast from the lighthouse's fog signal, THV Winston Churchill towed away the last of the series of light vessels which had marked the Royal Sovereign station since 1875. It is intended that the now-deteriorating lighthouse will be completely removed clear to the seabed.  The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse was built in 1971 with a design life of 50 years. It was brought into operation at noon on 6 September 1971. Having monitored the fabric of the lighthouse over the last decade and observing the expected signs of deterioration, Trinity House concluded that the ongoing safety of the mariner requires that the structure be fully decommissioned. 

The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has provided nearly 50 years of reliable service as an aid to navigation, one of over 600 that Trinity House operates for the benefit and safety of the mariner. In anticipation of its intention to remove Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, Trinity House has upgraded Beachy Head Lighthouse; it will also increase the capability of the offshore CS2 buoy and will retain the nearby Royal Sovereign buoy. The upgrade to Beachy Head Lighthouse has increased the number of solar panels around the base of its lantern gallery and included installation of a longer-range LED lantern, with the CS2 lighted buoy will also benefitting from an increase in range. Once Trinity House decommissions the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse as proposed, Beachy Head Lighthouse’s future is secured as the principal aid to navigation in the area.

Trinity House’s Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught said: it is never an easy decision to discontinue and even remove such a prominent aid to navigation, but the first priority will always be the safety of the mariner. Now that Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has reached the end of its serviceable life, it is time for us to take steps to ensure that the lighthouse itself does not become a hazard. There will be a lot of work involved for our engineers and our various other teams and we will be working extensively in collaboration with a number of organisations to ensure the success of this project."

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Dusk over Sovereign Harbour 

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Outer Harbour at dusk 2.  Photo cc these authors, Keith and Lois Forbes

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Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA)

The good, the bad and the ugly. (Kindly contributed by a concerned Sovereign Harbour resident. A copy was sent to the SHRA but has been ignored). 

Established in 2000. It states it gives Harbour residents a strengthened and co-ordinated voice in all discussions on the management and development of Sovereign Harbour and represents the interests of all, not just some harbour residents whether renting, leasing or owning. The word "residents" here is significant because while it states "membership is open to all households located with the (privately-owned, ultimately by The Wellcome Trust and its Premier Marinas)  Sovereign Harbour estate" it also states "and owners of such residential property" which is interpreted to include owners of the harbour's many buildings containing long-leased flats. The owners of Sovereign Harbour residential property also represented by the SHRA are not harbour residents. It is unusual to find a residents association not representing only residents, also owners and developers of where the residents live. 

Membership, via presentation of the membership card, brings discounts from certain local businesses (mostly located in premises owned by the Sovereign Harbour owners). The benefit of membership in return for the £10 is the 10% discount offered at some Sovereign Harbour or nearby establishments when a membership card is produced. The work of the SHRA is funded by a one-off, life membership subscription, presently £10, from members including everyone in their households, supplemented by commercial sponsorship of the SHRA web site and newsletter, "Waterlines. "  

But - likely because it also represents owners of the harbour's many buildings containing long-leased flats. it has never complained about estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour properties that deliberately do not specify that all owners and their successors of Sovereign Harbour properties offered for sale incur, uniquely in the UK, Europe and the World, a very expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge. See Code of Practice for All Residential Estate Agents at In particular, re Published Material and Information about a Property, see 7i, 7j, 7k, 7l, 7m which state this emphatically.

Because it also represents owners and developers of Sovereign Harbour residential units instead of residents only, the SHRA allows estate agents to get away with showing properties they market either with no upfront indication at all of the true annual estate rentcharge and its liabilities or as a deliberately misleading "harbour charge". It implies it is the same as or similar to normal harbour charges levied by other harbours. But this is not similar, it is unique, no other harbour in the entire UK levies such a harbour charge of that type. Why are estate agents not showing it as it truly is, an annual estate rentcharge as described exactly on the website of the entity that levies it, the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) (see it is clearly shown there as an (annual) estate rentcharge. Nor do estate agents (or the SHT) state that as one of the charges in this annual estate rentcharge, a specific flood charge is involved, of the type that nowhere else in the UK, Europe or the world do homeowners have to pay, only Sovereign Harbour residents. 

Another negative fact is that instead of exclusively representing their constituents as councillors in other jurisdictions do, one of the committee members of the SHRA is an Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) councillor for Sovereign Ward who is also a director and trustee of both the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) and its private subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd which together levy and collect the Annual Estate Rentcharge. Previous EBC councillors have also been board members of the SHT, with the backing of the East Sussex Community Council.  Why have EBC and  ESCC councillors never objected decisively and reacted appropriately to the fact that the sole purpose of the community interest company formed by the SHT is to charge, not benefit, Sovereign Harbour residents? Instead of really being a community interest company to dispense largesse and goodwill,  its sole purpose is to demand the Annual Estate Rentcharge from Sovereign Harbour residents only, not any of the 17,500-plus.residents beyond Sovereign Harbour but in the same flood zone who get their protection free at Sovereign Harbour residents expense. Nor have the EBC or ESCC councillors ever objected to the fact that on the Pevensey Bay (which includes Sovereign Harbour) Sea Defence website, the only people who pay for sea defence protection, via their annual estate rentcharge, are Sovereign Harbour residents yet there is no mention of this at all on the website.   

And because the Annual Estate Rentcharge is not specified as it should be by estate agents and the SHRA has not required them to do so to be totally and completely upfront to consumers in general and prospective new residents in particular, mortgage companies are both deceived and misled by those estate agents, the SHRA, also the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council should be held liable. Both latter local authorities conspicuously fail to mention it and because of this mortgage companies grant mortgages on these properties when legally they do not have the 100% security of tenure that reputable mortgage companies require. 

The SHRA should be requiring estate agents and property managers who advertise on its website to state the upfront specifics (shown by the SHRA on its website) about the Annual Estate Rentcharge and its components, as required by the Code of Practice.

Unlike other residents associations, the SHRA does not allow members to have online or physical access to monthly meetings, only to Annual General Meetings. It declines to link to websites of some of its members. It has not suggested that instead of the Sovereign Harbour Trust charging the 4,300 or so Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders £263.66 in 2020 for each residential unit regardless of whether the property is worth £180,000 or £1.3 million, all visitors to Sovereign Harbour, about 4.5 million in 2020 of all visitors to Eastbourne according to the Eastbourne Tourism office, could pay £1 apiece. Numerous other attractions in Eastbourne charge visitors an entrance fee. But presently they pay nothing to arrive, and many leave trash behind that local residents alone, via the Annual Estate Rentcharge, have to pay. It has been argued that because no other Premier Marinas harbour charges an entrance fee this one should not either. But no other harbour in the UK or world charges an Annual Estate Rentcharge for its land-based residents, only this one.

On 16 July 2020 this author sent the email shown below to of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. 

"I write to ask if you can kindly confirm what is now being uniformly stated by many corporate legal firms, that covenanted Rentcharges in general and covenanted Annual Estate Rentcharges in particular, will not be deemed eligible for consideration for mortgages when applied for by applicants approaching most reputable mortgage companies. If your ministry handles Rentcharges but not Annual Estate Rentcharges may I please ask if you can direct me to the appropriate office?

I ask because it seems that all estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour properties in Eastbourne seem to be deliberately not stating an Annual Estate Rentcharge definitely applies throughout this stated area. Or in  few cases they refer to it solely as a Harbour charge. Then they list the mortgage company they recommend. Yet there is a very specific covenanted Annual Estate Rentcharge, with key components, shown in

Nor is this charge mentioned at all, except in some cases as a Harbour charge, to those who, to get a good financial overview of the properties they might wish to buy, first consult local offices of the RICS. This is not a Harbour charge in any way similar to those of other harbours. A prominent and much- respected international newspaper describes it thus:

 "In no other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world is this hugely expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge similarly payable. Part of it is for Environment Agency-provided flood defence. A much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting more than 15,500 homes from Eastbourne to Bexhill on Sea, 8 miles east. But the Sovereign Harbour Trust and Premier Marinas, both owned by The Wellcome Trust, make only landowning or leasing Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors pay it, not neighboring communities equally affected, or businesses including managing agents and property developers of all Sovereign Harbour properties. Thus, Sovereign Harbour is the only place in the UK, Britain and the world with both such a unique and unfair combined resident-subsidised-alone residents charge, mostly from an Environment Agency-levied surcharge."

A reply was received that same day and said:

"Good afternoon. Thank you for your email. Our department assists freehold homeowners to apply to redeem their income supporting Rentcharges (Rentcharges created before August 1977). We unfortunately can not offer any assistance with Estate Rentcharges. Estate Rentcharges cover the maintenance of communal areas and facilities on private or mixed tenure estates and a requirement to pay these may be specified in the deeds of the property. The Government intends to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary. In addition, it may be useful to know that the Secretary of State wrote to the Competition and Markets Authority on 24 October 2019 to ask them to launch an investigation into potential mis-selling of freehold properties. He has requested that this work is taken forward as soon as the Competition and Markets Authority’s work on leasehold is complete. In the meantime you could try seeking some free initial advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Kind Regards. Rentcharges Team, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Ground Floor, Rosebrae Court, Woodside Ferry Approach, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 6DU. Email: Website:"

It appears from this that only the minority of Sovereign Harbour residents who are freeholders may, on application, be assisted to challenge the reasonableness of the Annual Estate Rentcharge and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary. However, the Secretary of State has contacted the Competition & Markets Authority and asked them to launch an investigation into potential mis-selling of freehold properties, presumably also in Sovereign Harbour....

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Sovereign Harbour Retail Village

Also known as The Crumbles.  Shops and Services. Owned by M&G Real Estate 

Sovereign Harbour Retail Park

ASDA. Eastbourne super store. Serves customers in a wide area from Eastbourne to Bexill and beyond.
Biggest by far premises in the block, particularly handy for Sovereign Harbour residents but also includes shoppers from Bexhill and other areas. Home delivery service. For the disabled, it has a particularly large number of Disabled Parking Spaces (DPS). From September 2020 ASDA has officially become a British-owned retailer again – the first time in 21 years. The US retail behemoth Walmart, previously the owner, agreed terms for a £6.8 billion sale of a majority stake in the Big 4 grocer to the billionaire Issa brothers, along with partners at private equity firm TDR Capital. Walmart had accepted a bid from a consortium led by Mohsin and Zuber Issa – the Lancashire-based owners of petrol forecourt firm EG Group – following a lengthy auction process. Walmart owned Asda since 1999, and the deal means it will still retain a minority stake in the Big 4 grocer as part of the agreement, as well as have a seat on the board.

ASDAShoppingshopping 2  

Boots. 9,729 sq ft

Harveys/Benson Beds. 14,418 sq ft. Since July, 2020.

Matalan. 20,808 sq ft

Next. 9,757 sq ft

Sports Direct. 9,936 sq ft

The Gym. 10,250 sq ft

TK Maxx. 14,276 sq ft

Wilko. 9,841 sq ft

Once in Sovereign HarbourAn 8 screen Cineworld cinema (shown in photo, right) was here until July 2016. Premises have been vacant since then. Residents were deprived of the cinema when it moved to Eastbourne at the insistence of the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) when it invested hugely in the redevelopment of the Beacon retail mall in downtown Eastbourne. 

That new Cineworld cinema installed in July 2016 had to close from March 2020, due to the pandemic re-opened in July but on 4 October 2020 closed again when Cineworld, USA-owned, part of the US Regal Cinema chain, announced the shuttering of all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the U.S. and all its cinemas - including that one in Eastbourne - and all others across the U.K. and Ireland, after James Bond film “No Time to Die” was pushed to April 2021

Residents want another cinema or entertainment facility on the old cinema site, but the EBC and ESCC do not want competition for the relocated town cinema. When M&G, the retail park owners, applied to change the use of the cinema building to retail use, the EBC imposed onerous planning restrictions, of the type neither EBC  nor ESCC require elsewhere, on this retail centre. The conditions include the prohibition of selling fashion, footwear, sportswear, toys and food "in order to protect the vitality and viability of the town centre from significant harm."  Until these restrictions are lifted, it will be difficult to find any tenant.  M&G have obtained planning permission for a refurbishment of the retail park, but this has been delayed because of COVID 19.

Will M&G Real Estate, Bermuda-incorporated US owners of the Sovereign Village/Crumbles Retail area, contact any/all the independent cinema companies referred to in Several have been looking for new locations. Or has M&G been told by local council and ESCC it cannot have another cinema where Cineworld was, because they want more business in Eastbourne and less in the outlying shopping centres? 

EBC and ESCC are wrong to think that people from the wide area of Sovereign Harbour and Pevensey, Bexhill, etc will be prepared, after the cinema that was here and free parking was right outside, was pressured to leave for the Eastbourne town centre and no free parking will go there instead, with the annoying traffic problems getting there and back as well. They will not, they will stay at home and watch films on TV. Many people who live in Sovereign Harbour have no desire to go into Eastbourne by car only two miles away in distance but often, especially in the summer months, having to encounter heavy traffic, annoyingly long waits at roundabouts and then, when you finally get into town, finding it difficult or impossible or grossly expensive to park. It is part of the aggravation of going into Eastbourne. What has made it worse is the fact that Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council authorities have narrowed highways, widened some pavements, deleted disabled parking spaces to create cycle lanes and created other impediments to motorists that just make the town annoying, a place to be avoided now instead of a decent shopping centre. Here, at Sovereign Harbour Village, there are decent shops, a good space for another cinema and free parking, 

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Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company (CIC)

They levy the Annual Estate Rentcharge shown separately above by name.

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Sovereign Harbour Waterfront Complex


 Harbour GrillHarvester

Frankie & Benny's were here until March 2020. Premises are currently vacant.  Local residents really liked it. It seemed to be constantly well-patronized before the Covid-19 lockdown. 

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Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club

Not open to general public. Annual fee applies. Welcomes all residents. Some meals served. Meeting place for some local organizations.

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Trains and Stations


Southern Railway. Stations are Eastbourne; Hampden Park (about. 3 miles away); Polegate (Approx. 5 miles away); Pevensey & Westham (approx. 3 miles away; and) Pevensey Bay (approx. 3 miles away). Beyond Pevensey Bay are more stations going east to Bexhill and Hastings. 

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White Point

BN23 5BP. Off Martinique Way. Part of Site 1 in original listing of Sovereign Harbour sites. Sits adjacent to the seaward west end Harbour entrance, and adjacent to the junction between Prince William Parade, Atlantic Drive and Martinique Way. A contemporary new development right on the beach at the west end Sovereign Harbour South. The development comprises 10 four bedroom houses with panoramic sea views.1 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. Dominated by Martello Tower 66, close to the beach and the seaward entrance to the harbour. Initially, the site was earmarked for an hotel, with plenty of parking. Later, this was withdrawn, much to the disappointment of Sovereign Harbour residents who object to having to go not close by but all the way into town in usually heavy traffic to find a hotel with limited or no parking. Instead, site was identified as ideal for a sea front leisure area and the seaward two thirds of the site were allocated for this purpose. In order to fund this, it was agreed that further residential dwellings could be built, ten houses and 62 apartments, in two blocks.

5 White Point buildings, each with two homes

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

One condition of the consent was that an uninterrupted view of the Martello Tower had to be maintained.  Another was that access to the beach must be maintained for Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd, contractors of which removing shingle built up behind the harbour arm and transporting it to the North Harbour beach. Construction started in 2017 with the houses being built first and completed 2019.  Work on the proposed two blocks of flats has not yet begun. 

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Working from home, many Sovereign Harbour leases prohibit this

Presently some Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings where residents are leasehold not freehold state specifically in their leases they do not allow professionals to work from home. (This does not apply in the relatively few Sovereign Harbour freehold homes). Not to allow all residents to work from home is archaic and anti government policy, especially now when both the central  government and local councils require some to work from home during the 2020 Covid 19 crisis.

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Keith A. Forbes at
© 2020. Revised: November 13, 2020