Sovereign Harbour Gazette banner

Sovereign Harbour Estate Agents' COP Council Tax Wrongs SH Disability Association E-mails
Forbes Clan General John Forbes July 4 music Pensioners Concerns  

Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour: toxic Annual Estate Rentcharge Capital of the world

Includes unique-in-UK Environment Agency sea defence cost only for 3,400 residents while 17,500 in same regional scheme pay nothing

By Keith A. Forbes. He is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled.

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour extra expenses 1Residential estate agents marketing Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour properties are legally required to comply with but have been deliberately ignoring statutes introduced in 2008 and  2015, namely the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) and Code of Practice for All Residential Estate Agents, see https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf. (Re the latter, in particular, on published Information about a property 7i, 7j, 7k and 7l which state this emphatically). 

These statutes make it mandatory for estate agents to reveal - and sellers to disclose - clearly, fairly and unambiguously to homebuyers, all essential and significant consumer information about the properties they market. Thus they cannot disguise, hide, omit or withhold any exceptional, distinguishing or unique facts about any Sovereign Harbour property. This includes a compulsory upfront disclosure about a flat with cladding. (An estate agent who did not disclose this upfront has recently been prosecuted, causing national headlines. 

Estate agents are now required to pay significant financial compensation (up to £25,000) where the regulatory bodies judge an estate agent's service is delinquent by omitting relevant website information about the property concerned, as the result of written complaints to the regulatory authorities by consumers concerned for omitting key information that could or would have caused them to reconsider the merits or demerits of the properties concerned. 

Thus, on their websites listed on either or both the Rightmove and Zoopla platform portals, estate agents must fully disclose Sovereign Harbour's unique-in-the-world annual estate rentcharge (AER) of £261.80 per residential unit in 2021 and its covenants affecting present and future owners; if there is any cladding on the property; and similarly unique-in-the-world obligations that include a compulsory annual payment into a coastal flood defence scheme. 

This coastal flood defence scheme does not just cover the one kilometre wide area of Sovereign Harbour with its 3,400 or so residents. It extends from Sovereign Harbour to Pevensey Bay then nine kilometres east to Bexhill on Sea and covers more than 17,500 other properties, but they get their flood defence coverage at no cost. Only Sovereign Harbour residential leasehold and freehold property owners, no one else, pay for it

Sovereign Harbour extra expenses 2Other parts of Eastbourne, Sussex and rest of the world get their flood defences at no further cost. Nowhere else in the entire UK does the Environment Agency impose a similar obligation on residents of an area.

In an extensive article published in September, 2010 the New Civil Engineer journal carried a misleading, inaccurate and incomplete article by freelance writer 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. The writer deliberately 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 was hoped the New Civil Engineer would 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?  The New Civil Engineer was asked by this author to publish a new piece to show the inaccuracies and omissions but has failed to do so. Sovereign Harbour residents believe all the facts and inaccuracies by the New Civil Engineer magazine should be circulating nationally and internationally. They believe the cost of the Pevensey Bay Sea Defence scheme which includes Sovereign Harbour should be spread evenly over all, not just a few, of those who benefit from it. (More than 17,400 people do so, with only about 3,500 of them residents of Sovereign Harbour, yet only the latter pay for it).

The following is how the Pevensey Bay Sea Defences website misleads the public by claiming wrongly the scheme is met from public money:

"Because the 1km long frontage is managed as an integral part of the 9km long Pevensey Bay frontage, these costs can be mitigated since money spent here can be shown to add value to the coast as a whole.  Pevensey Bay, Bexhill, Bulverhythe and Hastings all need a flow of shingle moving along the coast in order to maintain their own beach alignments.  Adding sediment to the system at Sovereign Harbour, and managing it as it drifts west to east, maximises the length of coast to benefit overall.  In this instance, using public money to help maintain the beach of a private development does make sense." 

Presently, no residential estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour residential property even show a link to the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) - which levies the AER - see http://www.sovereignharbourtrust.co.uk/estate_rent_charge.asp. Nor is it mentioned that a significant part (35% in 2020) of the AER paid by Sovereign Harbour owner- residents (but, significantly, not by The Wellcome Trust or Premier Marinas or any of their entities or any property developers/owners and other businesses that benefit much more than harbour residents) to the SHT is paid by the SHT to the Environment Agency for flood defence provided by the private PBSD.

Sovereign Harbour is owned by the privately-held The Wellcome Trust which owns Premier Marinas Ltd, the Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) and the latter's subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd. (CIC). The sole purpose of the latter is to CHARGE Sovereign Harbour residents the Annual Estate Rentcharge, not bestow any community interest.  The AER is not a nominal sum but a significant £261.80 per residential unit in 2021 irrespective of whether the property is worth £175,000 or £1.4 million. The AER is not instead of but in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. Deeds for all Sovereign Harbour properties showing their AER obligations are registered by the SHT and/or its CIC with the Land Registry. 

Both the SHT and its CIC have an Eastbourne Borough Councillor on their boards of directors. It's the only example in all the UK where a publicly elected local authority councillor represents the interests of constituents while at the same time being on the board of the two private entities referred to above, the SHT and its CIC, the sole purpose of which is to demand payment from their constituents, not provide any community service. Also on the boards of both the SHT and CIC is a past chairperson of the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA)

Nor is it mentioned by chartered surveyors, the Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC), East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and the above-mentioned SHRA. It has long been seen as a major concern by local residents that these two local authority entities have allowed, without using their joint powers to right this wrong, that Sovereign Harbour only, not any of the other areas of Eastbourne as well, has to pay the flood defence charge. And if it really represented residents only, the SHRA would surely have wanted to enlist the support of its members in and try a class action against the EA for unfairly requiring Sovereign Harbour residents alone, no other place in the UK, to pay a flood defence charge. But, as it states on its website, as membership of the SHRA is open to both all households in owned or rented residential property with the Sovereign Harbour estate - and owners of such residential property (namely, the developers/owners, who were originally expected to pay the flood defence charge but who have since passed it on to their tenants) and local authority councillors who live in the harbour, with one a committee member of the SHRA) it can easily be seen how the SHRA will not really want to help. Also, In December 2020 the SHRA stated publicly it would tell estate agents to abide by estate agent regulations in marketing a property but if it has done so it has been ignored.  

With estate agents not referring to the main AER covenant, mortgage companies are misled into believing - and reporting when they come to sell their property - that it is a harbour charge (but no other UK harbour has such a harbour charge) not an estate rentcharge that mortgage companies either deny to applicants or charge extra to indemnify. Nor will a property likely qualify for a lifetime mortgage such as an Equity Release. Yet despite this, residential estate agents selling Sovereign Harbour properties state applicants can obtain mortgages from them as they act as agents for mortgage companies. A second unique covenant similarly undisclosed upfront by estate agents requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties within the water feature precinct to pay an (additional, not applicable elsewhere) annual water feature charge of more than £260 per annum.

Potential new buyers of Sovereign Harbour property anyway - despite the above - also need to know upfront that although Sovereign Harbour is a private estate they as buyers and exclusive payers of the AER get no exclusive right to use Sovereign Harbour facilities. The general public, their cycles and dogs are permitted and encouraged by the private-estate Sovereign Harbour owners and developers to access Sovereign Harbour beaches, pathways and walkways at no cost to them - only to the 3.400 or so Sovereign Harbour owner-residents. This includes all other Eastbourne residents, tourists visiting the Eastbourne area by public transport or car, and persons who seasonally or year-round occupy hundreds of caravans in the nearby caravan sites of Pevensey Bay Holiday Park, Bay View Park and Grey Tower Caravan Park in the nearby Pevensey Bay area. It is also the only place in the world which has this annual estate rentcharge applicable on roads accessible by public transport buses. (Payment by local residents alone of the AER including the flood defence charge might be deemed by some residents as more acceptable if they were offered residents' exclusivity in Sovereign Harbour facilities).

SHG spacer

Annual Estate Rentcharge principals

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

paragraphThe Environment Agency, of Rio House, Waterside Drive, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol BS12 4UD. (The Agency)

paragraphSovereign Harbour Limited (SHL). Company No. 2217605 of Birch Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4HY.(Now liquidated).

paragraphEastbourne Harbour Company Limited (EHCL). Company No. 1141203 of Birch Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4HY. (Now liquidated).

paragraphCarillion Construction Limited (Carillion). Company No. 00594581, of Birch Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4HY. (Now liquidated).

paragraphSovereign Harbour Marina Limited (Harbour Company). Company No. 2732959 of Birch Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4HY. (Now trading name of Premier Marinas (Eastbourne) Limited. Address has changed to Marina Office North Lockside Pacific Drive, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 5BG). 

paragraphSovereign Harbour Trust. Company No. 4125834 of Windsor House, 6-10 Mount Ephraim Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1EE (Trust Company)

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.  

The Deed and Grant of Covenant for each qualifying Sovereign Harbour property. Not a single local authority or residents' association makes 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  wholly owned subsidiary 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 is now dormant. On its website the Trust publishes A Guide to the Estate Rentcharge. Although the Government's Community Interest Company (CIC) regulations require a CIC to consult its stakeholders (i.e. the residents who pay) about its activities, and to provide high quality information rather than just the required minimum, this entity has for years declined to obey this edict. The Trust incorporated the CIC without any pre-warning to Sovereign Harbour residents. To operate as a CIC, a majority of its board members should be from the community and be appointed by the community it charges, according to government.. Our Member of Parliament and councillors ignored this and allowed the CIC to be created regardless. The trust has no longer has charitable status for years but its website still states this.  The Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences CIC) sole function is to demand and collect the rentcharge and manage the administration of the income. 

This CIC is offensive to the only people it charges yet in no way benefits, the 3,400 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.

When other local authorities pay their cost of flood defences without imposing any charge at all to their constituents, why are Sovereign Harbour residents alone treated differently, with such discriminatory prejudice?

To end this massive unfairness, between them the Eastbourne Borough Council  and East Sussex County Councils, as our local authorities, and our Member of Parliament Caroline Ansell, should be calling for a revamp or revocation of the Eastbourne Harbour Act. In early 2020 Eastbourne tourism officials told this author that The Wellcome Trust's and Premier Marinas-owned Sovereign Harbour had about 3.4 million visitors in 2019 out of the 5.2 million experienced by the town. While other town attractions charge an entrance fee per visitor, Sovereign Harbour does not. Visitors are given free access. Instead of charging 3,400 Sovereign Harbour resident property owners £261.80 per residential property in 2021, Sovereign Harbour's The Wellcome Trust and Premier Marinas owners could more than recoup their costs by charging visitors £1.00 or so a head. 

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, 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. 

SHG spacer

Only the 3,400 local residents pay so unfairly this 2021 £261.80 annual cost per dwelling

paragraphNowhere else in coastal Britain, Europe or other coastal part of the world does this unique Harbour Charge occur. Not even where there are flood zones, harbours and their coastal residential development, and littoral drifts or the very similar Longshore Drift (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longshore_drift)This has been thoroughly researched. This has never been stated by any local councils or public authorities or Sovereign Harbour Residents Association. In no other shingle or pebble beach, harbour and marina area in the UK or Europe or the world  do local authorities ask or make their residents pay for flood defences that go far beyond just this local community.. Other areas in UK and worldwide with shingle beaches include Alby, Sweden; Birding's Flat, New Zealand; Brighton; Broomhill Sands; Camber Sands; Cooden Beach (See Rother District Council Coastal Protection at http://www.rother.gov.uk/article/1470/Coastal-protection) ; Chesil Beach; Dungeness; Eastbourne (which should include the two Sovereign Harbour beaches north and south, but do not, presently); Hawar Islands, Bahrain; Hastings; Herne Bay; Nice, France; Osmussaar, Estonia; Pevensey Bay, Seaford Head Beach; Slapton Sands; St. Leonard's on Sea; The Stade; Sorve Peninsular, Estonia; Srce, Croatia. 

paragraphWhether a property is worth £170,000 or £1.25 million the charge is virtually the same. It is based on the number of Sovereign Harbour residential households, not their value. In other parts of the UK, Europe and the world, charges (or taxes) are graduated, based on assessed or market value. Why has this flagrant unfairness been allowed to continue when Council Taxes have always, since 1992, been apportioned based to at least some extent on a property's value?

paragraphYet Premier Marinas elsewhere - all also part of The Wellcome Trust - do not have any similar estate rental charge.  There is no equivalent Estate Rental Charge at any of the the other marinas owned by Premier Marinas which is owned by The Wellcome Trust.

SHG spacer

What do Sovereign Harbour residents who pay for the Annual Estate Rentcharge get for it?

Sovereign Harbour residents extra expenseThey get nothing in return for the £261.80 per dwelling per year to the Sovereign Harbour Trust's Community Interest Company shown below.

paragraphNo Insurance against flooding

paragraphNo other kind of insurance.

paragraphNo exclusivity of Sovereign Harbour facilities in return for their annual estate rentcharge. Instead of any exclusivity, residents alone have to pay an Estate Harbour charge of a type not levied by any Community Interest Company or entity anywhere else in the UK, Europe or the world. Visitors who are not Sovereign Harbour residents can walk or cycle past, their dogs are often not on a leach and can go into the communal gardens and make a mess. Visitors can also stand outside each building and use BT free zones.

paragraphNo discount of council taxes from the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council, both of whom already charge far more in council taxes for a typical 2 bedroom Sovereign Harbour flat than for 3 bedroom or more properties in other parts of Eastbourne with market values worth much more,

paragraphNo Community Interest benefits or advantages of any kind

paragraphNo Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council-provided trees on pavements on any council-adopted Sovereign Harbour roads, yet we pay higher-than-normal Council Taxes. 

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) levies the annual estate Rentcharge

Eastbourne, Sovereign Harbour & Pevensey BayA private limited company. By the nature of the work it does in environmental matters, also a (hybrid) public authority under Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) 

The entities that sealed, signed and executed it on 26 August 2001 were:

Since then. the charge above has remained in effect, increasing significantly in cost since its original £78 a year cost in 2004. It claims the right to increase the charge annually based on the Retail Price Index.

The SHT, without any referral to or the consent of residents of Sovereign Harbour, got all local and public authorities to approve and sign - renegotiate - it. 

The revision is for a period of 25 years from 2004 as a legal liability for Sovereign Harbour homeowners. 

The Estate Rent Charge is The Sovereign Harbour Trust’s only income. But it is not used to protect the welfare and property of Sovereign Harbour residents, the only people who have to pay. The stated objectives of the Trust are to preserve the environment but in this context the environment does not mean either individual Sovereign Harbour residences or the development as a whole. The primary benefit must be for the public, not members of a specific group, such as the residents of Sovereign Harbour. So why are only Sovereign Harbour residents legally obliged to pay it? It seems clear  that the objectives of the Trust do not involve protection of the property and welfare of Sovereign Harbour residents who alone are paying for it. 

Only another legal Act of Parliament can stop or change it to right the wrong.

Claimed legal authority for the charge is the "Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed 2001."

But those who have to pay it are only 3400 Sovereign Harbour residents in the one-mile-wide area of Sovereign Harbour, not the 17.500 + residents  living in all of Pevensey Bay, east of and beyond Sovereign Harbour, for over 9 miles far as Cooden Beach, Bexhill on Sea.

SHG spacer

Board Members and registered office of the SHT

Number 22 Mount Ephraim Tunbridge Wells Kent TN4 8AS. The SHT is a private company limited by guarantee without share capital and exempt from using "Limited." It was incorporated on 14 December 2000. it is listed as having the nature of its business support service activities but is shown to be dormant during the year ended 30/09/16.

The board meets 4 times per year or as otherwise agreed from time to time. Its task is primarily to collect and distribute rent charges due from residential owners within the Sovereign Harbour development. Also board members of subsidiary CIC.

paragraphMr Geoffrey Andrew Collins FCA. Finance Director. Swanwick Marina Swanwick, Southampton, Hampshire, SO31 1ZL. Appointed 28 August 2012. Finance Director. Born March 1968.

paragraphMr John Mischa Cervenka. Operations Director, Premier Marinas Ltd Swanwick Marina, Swanwick, Southampton, SO31 1ZL. Appointed 7 December 2015. Born May 1968. Operations Director

paragraphMrs P di Cara. 20 Barbuda Quay, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 5TT. Since 4 September 2017. An Eastbourne Borough Councillor and a current committee member of the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association. Born October 1951. Appointed 4 September 2017.

paragraphMr Michael Charles Pursglove. Born February 1943. 11 Tower Close Beachlands, Pevensey Bay, Pevensey, East Sussex, BN24 6SJ. Appointed 4 September 2017.

paragraphMrs Janet Anne Weeks. 1 Golden Gate Mews, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 5PS. Appointed September 2017.. A former Chair of the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association. Born March 1945.

Company Secretary: Cripps Secretaries Ltd, since May 2002. Number 22 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8AS. 

Sovereign Harbour areaIt was emphasized to those appointed in 2017  that their duties on appointment are owed exclusively to the CIC and the importance of avoiding any conflict of interest. A recent SHT meeting noted the Expiry of the E A agreement in 2025, and this item will continue to be kept under review.

Its website contravenes present requirements because, with its environmental involvements described above and below it also qualifies as a public authority in addition to being a private company, it has to comply with the European Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004, which implements the European Council Directive 2003/4/CE on public access to environmental information in the UK. The main objective of the regulations is encapsulated in Regulation 4 of the EIR which requires the relevant data holders and entities of record that claim the legal right to levy the charge, in this case both the SHT and its subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC mentioned below, with the latter quoting the website of the former in its covering letter to flat owners/plot owners), to engage in a proactive exercise to make the information available for inspection by "electronic means" which inevitably requires the data to be made publicly available online or via an electronic device such as a computer and or a computer terminal. A principal obligation placed on holders of Environmental Information is public electronic dissemination. Environmental information includes information about air, water, sea, beaches, soil, flora, fauna, energy, noise, waste and emissions, also includes information about decisions, policies and activities that affect the environment so included. 

It still states, wrongly, on its website it is a charity (corrected except on the website where it is shown in two places, initially and in its mission statement. 

The Eastbourne Harbour Act of 1980 left the developers, either the Duke of Devonshire, or successor companies, with a legal obligation in perpetuity to remedy any depletion of shingle along the stretch of coast between Sovereign Harbour and Cooden Beach at their own cost. It was clearly expected or intended from this that those organisations who would commercially benefit from the sale of the land and the development of the marina and surrounding residential properties would contribute to any additional maintenance of sea defences required to compensate for the effects of the Harbour. But instead, the costs became payable solely by the residents who bought their property from the developers, not the developers themselves.

The SHT website above, on its front page, states "was set up to preserve and protect the environment along the beach frontage in front of Sovereign Harbour" and, to accentuate this, has a graphic that shows precisely the area of Sovereign Harbour. In defining the SW Charge it states "the Trust covenants with the homeowner to apply the SW charge charge towards the cost of execution of the Littoral Drift obligations and and improvement of the beach and sea defences within the vicinity of the Harbour and towards Harbour Maintenance or any one or more of such objects." In defining the Marina Charge it states the Marina Costs "are all costs and expenses reasonably and properly incurred in connection with or incidental to the cleansing, repair and maintenance of the Harbour and its Waterways."

The precise wordings of the SW Charge and Marina Charge stipulate just the Harbour and its Waterways (inner harbours). 

PCDL was given, not by residents or with their approval but without them being consulted,  a 25 year contract being signed on 1st June 2000.  PCDL actually undertakes none of the work, having subcontracted all obligations to the four shareholders, who are  Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd; Dean & Dyball; Mackley Construction; and Mouchel Group. Each of these PCDL shareholders has a contract with PCDL, backed up by a similar direct agreement with the UK Government's Environment Agency, which would allow the Agency to continue to maintain the defences should PCDL fail to perform.

It is claimed the arrangement marks a first for the area, a unique combined public sector and private sector arrangement - yet nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world has it and no other residents, only those of Sovereign Harbour, have to pay it.

SHG spacer

Collection of this charge

£250 2017 annual Cost of estate rent charge/harbour charge

In no other organization or local government anywhere else in the world does this Estate Rent Charge/Harbour Charge apply!

This charge is its only business, otherwise it is dormant. Financial information shows it up to 2014 but a zero balance for 2015 and beyond, likely because the SHT established  the Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company (CIC), with  all the work involved in the harbour charge now organized by that latter entity.

Nowhere in the Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed 2001 does it state that only Sovereign Harbour residents must pay the charge

The Sovereign Harbour Trust makes the charge payable as a compulsory demand (to Sovereign Harbour residents only) via its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC. The latter does so by sending its demand by letter to each qualifying Sovereign Harbour residents according to their "unique plot number."  There is no open-to-the public record of any advance knowledge being given to the Sovereign Harbour community at large about the planned formation of this "Community Interest Company."

The Sovereign Harbour Trust, in view of its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC contracts with Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd (PCDL) is a private limited company but by the nature of the work it does in environmental (coastal defence) matters, is also technically  a (hybrid) public authority under Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). 

Present/past directors/officers/officials of PCDL are not shown on its website but according to Companies House are, with their correspondence addresses: 

Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd itself does not carry out any of the sea-defence-related work but arranges it via a brace of private companies shown above. See them listed in "Sea Defences at Pevensey Bay" at http://www.pevensey-bay.co.uk/resources/pdf/Pevensey%20supplement.pdf - based or with operations in the area. 

SHG spacer

How the SHT deals with non-payers of the Estate Rentcharge

The SHT via its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC takes action to rectify the non registration (at the Land Registry) of Estate Rent Charges. It asks the Land Registry to note the Estate Rent Charge is payable by the Sovereign Harbour unit-holders involved and to record if it has not been paid. The Land Registry records the entry as similar to an unpaid mortgage, meaning that those who do not pay it are effectively unable to sell their Sovereign Harbour property. There has not yet been any recorded protest to this procedure by any local county or borough counselor or member of Parliament or community group, nor has the Land Registry itself ever questioned it, even though the Estate Rental Charge is payable by Estate area Sovereign Harbour residents only but it is not private to them, all other non-residents can walk or cycle and can take their dogs through all the beach and harbour area roads and walkways in the entire Estate area. 

SHG spacer

Environment Agency caused the problem and receives 35% of the money from the charge

The Environment Agency does not charge or require taxpayers from not within Sovereign Harbour to bear the cost of containing the littoral drift - but does require Sovereign Harbour residents to do soNo 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 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 and paid to the Environment Agency by its subsidiary.  Note it is not payable by residents of any other Premier Marinas or other harbours. The Sovereign Harbour Trust states that funds received under the SW charge heading are applied under the terms of an agreement on the part of the Trust and the CIC with the Environment Agency, and the Sovereign Harbour Marina Company, as follows:

The payment to the Environment Agency is to be expended by them on the maintenance of Sea Defences, including Rock Revetment, as the Agency considers necessary to avoid tidal flooding.

The payment to the Marina Company is for such works as are considered necessary to maintain the outer harbour break water and associated structures, the inner and outer harbour and connecting locks, the West and North harbours, the harbour walls, bridges and associated structures and water ways. Harbour maintenance is to help the overall facility to drain the site quickly in the event of tidal or storm flooding.

SHG spacer

Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council both approved it

SHG spacer

Advice from respected UK legal entities to beware of places with an Estate Rent Charge (like Sovereign Harbour)

SHG spacer

It by-passed the European Union which would have objected to it

EU flag  flag of Germany flag of France

This charge would never have been allowed to occur in the European Union. There, the property or council taxes of owners or lessees of those flats  and related units are deemed a fair compensation for any recurring shingle relocation expenses. UK environmental law is based mostly on EC environmental law.  Because of Brexit, all relevant UK laws are to be revised to match EC laws. Thus any laws relating to Sovereign Harbour that dictated how flood harbour dues had to be paid only by Sovereign Harbour owners, no one else, should have been revoked long ago. 

In the European Union, in Coastal Management there is an European Code of Conduct for Coastal Zones - and a model law was issued by the European Council from 1999. This document was prepared by the EU's Group of Specialists on Coastal Protection and underlies European Union legislation and practice.  (See Member States of the Council of Europe at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_states_of_the_Council_of_Europe). It emphasized the need for integrated management and planning, especially when coastal areas continue to deteriorate. The Group proposed that the Council of Europe cooperate with the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - see http://www.unep.org/

It appears that none of these European Code of Conduct for Coastal Zones European directives or management or local authority overviews were ever extended, as they should have been, to Sovereign Harbour, as happened uniformly throughout Europe. Had this been the case for Sovereign Harbour it would most likely have required no charge exclusively for Sovereign Harbour residents or at worst a uniformly wide and not specific to Sovereign Harbour alone residents charge applicable to all properties both commercial and residential in the flood area. In September 2017  this author was then (briefly) a new committee member of the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association. He suggested the whole matter of the annual estate rentcharge be referred to the-then Members of the European Parliament in the UK, the European Court of Human Rights and related agencies. He resigned in disgust when ordered by the committee not to pursue with this. This whole matter should now be referred to the UK's Secretary of State for Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs, and if no action from there, to the world media.

SHG spacer

Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004

Given its private status, the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to beneficial owner The Wellcome Trust, which owns Premier Marinas and its group companies and entities mentioned below. But the EIR applies where the Freedom of Information Act does not.

The coverage of the Environmental Information Regulations is greater than that of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. EIR 2004 implements the European Council Directive 2003/4/CE on public access to environmental information in the UK. The Directive in turn has at its source the Aarus Convention. The main objective of the regulations is encapsulated in Regulation 4 of the EIR which requires the relevant data holder to engage in a proactive exercise to make the information available for inspection by "electronic means" which inevitably requires the data to be made publicly available online or via an electronic device such as a computer and or a computer terminal. A principal obligation placed on holders of Environmental Information is public electronic dissemination. Environmental information includes information about air, water, sea, beaches, soil, flora, fauna, energy, noise, waste and emissions. Environmental Information also includes information about decisions, policies and activities that affect the environment. 

What constitutes a Public Authority?

Public Authorities Under the Human Rights Act 1998. See https://justice.org.uk/public-authorities-human-rights-act-1998/ 

S6 The Human Rights Act 1998 make it unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a person's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Thus S6 The Human Rights Act 1998 imposes a duty on all public authorities to act compatibly with the ECHR. 

Definition of public authority: Any court or tribunal and any person certain of whose functions are functions of a public nature. However, in relation to a particular act, a person is not a public authority if the nature of the act is private, not public. Thus, under a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling,  even through in another context they may be classed as private companies, The Wellcome Trust, its subsidiary Premier Marinas and SHT, as well as the SHT's CIC, all by virtue of their Sovereign Harbour-related involvement that involves members of the public and charges them a fee or requires them to make payments under a public Act of Parliament, namely the Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed, 2001, now all qualify as public authorities. Equally, the Environmental Authority, Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council also qualify. Surely a public authority cannot require by law some people - only Sovereign Harbour residents - to pay an Estate Rent Charge under the Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed, 2001 but exempt all other 17,000 residents and all businesses in the nine mile area from having to pay it?

Thus The Wellcome Trust, its subsidiary Premier Marinas, its operating subsidiaries all used by members of the public who pay for their services and SHT, as well as the SHT's CIC, are all hybrid public authorities, unlike councils which are pure public authorities. (This raises some potentially significant other issues, such as which other local entities should or should not be deemed as hybrid public authorities. For example, doctors in general practice are public authorities as it relates to their National Health Service functions but not in relation to their private patients. And should the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association, in view of its wide-ranging mission statement potentially affecting all residents, also be a hybrid public authority?)

SHG spacer

Land Registry Notice re registration of Estate Rent Charges

See https://www.todaysconveyancer.co.uk/main-news/land-registry-notice-registration-of-estate-rentcharges/

SHG spacer

Repeal of this Act is soughtRepeal of all unfair-to-residents Sovereign Harbour-related legislation is  sought

This includes the Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed 2001.

It is possible to apply to repeal an Act. See https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/acts/. Changes to Acts:  Future changes to the law happen through the passing of another Act or delegated legislation. 

An Act can also be repealed so that its provisions no longer apply. Parliamentary committees examine UK laws and recommend the removal of out of date legislation. But this will require the cooperation and input of all estate charge/harbour charge residents, those who represent them, their local councillors, others who may be affected and Member of Parliament Stephen Lloyd.

See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/process_of_repealing_acts and Visit the Law Commission website: www.lawcom.gov.uk 

Some other Acts that have been repealed. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Repealed_United_Kingdom_Acts_of_Parliament

SHG spacer

Press reports about Sovereign Harbour residents' complaints include:

They include the Eastbourne Herald newspaper report of a wave of anger in protests of 23 January 2014,  on 15 February 2014 see http://cllr-warner.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/fairness-for-sovereign-harbour.html - a plea for fairness by then-Councillor Patrick Warner at a Council Meeting; on 24 February 2014; 2 April 2015. It led to a further storm of protests, which led to a visit from Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and this report of 20 March 2015 at https://www.eastbourneconservatives.org.uk/news/elizabeth-truss-mp-visits-sovereign-harbour and in January 2016 a paper from then-MP Caroline Ansell, on the UK government's Environment Audit Committee, re the history, decisions, repercussions and gross miscarriage of justice of the flood harbour charge, and more. 

Our MP Caroline Ansell has said publicly that in her opinion the annual charge was unfair and unjust. Since then there have been further angry complaints from residents.

SHG spacer

Real efforts, backed by councillors and our MP must be made have the charge cease under UK laws

Newsspapers and publicityThere is some doubt that that this injustice will be remedied by normal persuasion or legal means here in the UK. The fact of the matter is that the charge was sanctioned in a UK Act of Parliament. It also  by-passed or side-stepped European and other international environmental laws.  On 15th August 2017, in reply to this writer's Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 request, The Environment Agency's Tom Baker sent this writer a copy of the sealed, signed and executed Sovereign Harbour Beaches (Sea Defences) Deed of 2001. He also stated the SHRA have produced a comprehensive history of the deed and confirmed The Environment Agency has sought counsel advice on the validity of the charge and that it has been advised it is a legal charge. 

But it might be possible as a Human Rights discrimination case, especially if a group representing Sovereign Harbour residents is willing to take it up and if it does not have a conflict of interest because it also represents freeholders including developers,

What was referred to is its present exclusive right in Sovereign Harbour (nowhere else in Britain, nowhere else by any other Environmental Agency in any other part of the world), to require residents and their successors to pay the charge. To fight it would be an uphill, costly and useless legal battle that residents should not be asked to pay. It should have been resolved more than 17 years ago. Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, whose councilors represent all in Sovereign Harbour who have to pay the charge, should have long ago led and paid for out of public funds if necessary the fight to have the charge dropped for the simple fact that nowhere else in the world where there are harbours and marinas do such charges exist, not even where similar littoral drifts occur. Councilors have not taken or offered to take such action to help cease this inequity. An MP for Eastbourne has publicly declared it unfair.  

Given the lack of any remedial action to date on the part of The Wellcome Trust and its subsidiary Premier Marinas, the two local councils and the present local Member of Parliament it is not surprising that they and the town of Eastbourne is now beginning to get a very poor international image. With every road and street or quay in Sovereign Harbour North and South named not by accident but by design after an international place or town or city, much the criticism of Eastbourne for its victimized Sovereign Harbour residents will shortly come from those places, with more to follow later in 2021. There have already been a number of unfavorable comments from various places in the European Union and elsewhere, where no such similar penalties exist.

SHG spacer

Or Sovereign Harbour residents should collectively ask the Law Commission to press for law reform or go overseas to media and environmental agencies

See https://www.lease-advice.org/news-item/leasehold-included-law-commissions-13th-programme-law-reform/?dm_i=OUE,5D7L5,Q8IWGN,KQUMY,1 

Of particular concern is the fact that when the leases of Sovereign Harbour (and other) flats are assigned or sold, the subsequent leaseholder cannot effectively challenge the fairness of the term. Currently, only the original leaseholder can effectively challenge a term under unfair terms law. Thus, at this time, not only do we uniquely have to pay the hated Estate Rent Charge but also those who buy our leases.  This is because under section 62(5) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, whether a term is fair is to be determined by “reference to all the circumstances existing when the term was agreed”.  The purpose of the Law Commission's unfair terms project is to consider whether, each time a lease is assigned, this should be seen as creating a new contract between the landlord and leaseholder for the purposes of changing and improving the unfair terms law. The project reflects feedback to the Commission from stakeholders about many potentially unfair terms in leases, including ground rents which increase exponentially, fixed service charges and fees on assignment of leases. These types of terms in leases are currently unregulated and cannot be challenged by leaseholders under landlord and tenant law. However, it may be possible to use unfair terms law amendments to fill this gap. 

But it will be up to residents both collectively and likely individually to give appropriate details that will support their contentions. It is manifestly unfair to Sovereign Harbour residents that while many other areas of Eastbourne, Meads as merely one, now being marketed, offer flats at 999 years lease or similar, with manageable annual management fees and nominal or no ground rent, the great majority of Sovereign Harbour residents have far more expensive annual management fees, long leases of 120 years or less, ground rents often exceeding £120 annually.

celtic banner

About Sovereign Harbour

For details of why Sovereign Harbour is the Toxic Annual Rentcharge Capital of the World, see above

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

Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour comprises 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 four 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 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., established as such in 1994 Later, it and all other eight Premier Marinas on the south coast in the UK -Sovereign Harbour and Brighton Marina in East Sussex, Chichester in West Sussex, Southsea, Port Solent, Gosport, Swanwick in Hampshire, Noss-on-Dart in Devon and Falmouth Marina in Cornwall were sold to The Wellcome Trust. (Of all these marina and harbour locations, only Sovereign Harbour has an annual estate rentcharge).. 

The Wellcome Trust is classed as a charitable foundation to most in the UK but not to the 3,400 or so resident owners/leaseholders of Sovereign Harbour to whom, uniquely in the UK, it charges £263.55 Annual Estate Rentcharge per house or flat irrespective of whether modest in market value (as 75% are) or worth £1.4 million (as six are). The Wellcome Trust 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, 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 considerable chagrin of all Sovereign Harbour residents it was lured away by Bermuda-incorporated Legal & General's Beacon Shopping Centre with the active assistance of the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, both of which wanted a new cinema for their renovated The Beacon shopping mall in the town of Eastbourne. That cinema, part of the Cineworld chain, has since closed and will not reopen until the Covid 19 pandemic ends.

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

SHG spacer

Alphabetical order and postal codes 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. North Harbour.  Residential units. 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

Kensington

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). 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.
Madeira Way BN23 5UJ, 5UL, 5UQ, 5UN. 5UG
Macquarie Quay

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.

Martinique Way BN23 5TH, 5TR, 5TS
Midway Quay BN23 5DD, 5DE, 5DF, 5DG. The Boardwalk Management (Sovereign Harbour) Ltd.  Company No.05185116. A Fell Reynolds -controlled entity. 
Monterey Wharf BN23 
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
Rapala Court, Midway Quay

BN23 5DB

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 Boardwalk Various. The Boardwalk Management (Sovereign Harbour) Ltd.  Company No.05185116. A Fell Reynolds -controlled entity. Has six tall apartment buildings with cladding subject to replacement.Located on a promontory between Sovereign Harbour's inner and outer harbour. The six residential blocks vary in height from 6 to 8 storeys and provide 260 residential units. The six buildings were intended to give the appearance of elegant ocean liners floating on water and looking out to the inner harbour and the sea beyond. In the centre is The Boardwalk, a steel and timber  pedestrian footway that provides access to the ground floor of each building above the car park which has 518 spaces. The buildings step up in height from east to west with the roof-top penthouse units forming a structure like a ship's bridge. When started, the 6-building project for Redrow Homes completed in 2006 was valued at  £45 million. The architect was Cube Design, with involvement by Simpson Associates, Silcock Dawson, Nigel Rose & Partners and Terence O'Rourke. The project won the 2006 Evening Standard Award for Best Duplex Penthouse Apartment.
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.

SHG spacer

Air Show

Eastbourne. Postponed to August 2022, after a 2-year lapse. Voted UK's best free air show, see fast jets, aerobatics, military displays, pleasure flights, fireworks and the Airborne Live stage all return in August. Regular favorites include the Red Arrows, Chinook, Typhoon and more.

SHG spacer

Bank Holidays

https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays

SHG spacer

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

Sovereign North Harbour Beach

Members of the public not Sovereign Harbour residents use these beaches every year, 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 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. While they regularly clean and maintain other Eastbourne beaches the EBC will not do so on any Sovereign Harbour beaches. The beach is nominally 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 abuse the beaches 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 nearby. Who pays for this non-residents' misuse? Residents. 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.

Non-residents misuse the walkways above the beaches by cycling! The walkways are for pedestrians. On no cycling maps of cycling organizations are they shown as cycling approved. Nor do they show any council cycle markings. The walkways are accessible to wheelchair and mobility scooters but not cycles. When a person is injured by a cyclist on a beach walkway the cyclist is liable, also the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council.

Because they are private beach not a public one there are no:

Beaches cannot be used by the disabled or those with balance or walking difficulties. Why not? 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 the beaches?  The companies that developed the apartment buildings opposite the beaches.  For example,  at 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 are owned by the developers of the properties opposite them. 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.

As far as the developers are concerned you use the beach area entirely at your own risk. 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 3,400 local residents (but no one else) to pay for the flood defences that also cover a much wider area involving more than 17,500 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.

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. 

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.

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 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.

SHG spacer

Books about the area and Crumbles Murders 

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

SHG spacer

Bridges

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. 

SHG spacer

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. 

See https://bustimes.org/services/5a-sovereign-harbour-eastbourne

SHG spacer

churchesChurches/Places of Worship 

None in Sovereign Harbour itself but several are close by.

 

SHG spacer

Citizen's Advice Bureau, Eastbourne

See http://www.eastbournecab.co.uk/ 

SHG spacer

Columbus Point & Water Feature 

An area of Sovereign Harbour South. The water feature is to be one of the largest of its type in Europe. Owners of 369 residential properties bordering the water feature are covenanted in their deeds to pay for the management, running and maintenance of this water feature, unlike in other parts of the world where the cost of the water feature is included in the cost of each relevant property. Water in this feature is dosed with chemicals to restrict algae growth, thus entering the water is prohibited, should not be paddled or stepped or swum in. The  covenanted 2020 cost per residential unit in the water feature precinct was £247.11. This is in addition to the covenanted annual estate rentcharge. Estate agents marketing properties where the water feature charge applies are not stating this in their property advertisements.

SHG spacer

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

SHG spacer

Councillors and Member of Parliament from Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council

 What they don't do for Sovereign Harbour but what they do for other parts of Eastbourne. Sovereign Harbour is part of Eastbourne Borough Council's Sovereign Ward. A Ward is a local electoral district.  Sovereign Ward also includes the residential areas of Langney Point and Kingsmere and homes on the south side of St. Anthony's Avenue and the Queen's Crescent area. The Sovereign Harbour area, largest part of the ward, is the largest composite marina development in the UK and the largest sheltered marina in northern Europe.

East Sussex County Council

Eastbourne Borough Council

Councillor & Member of Parliament Caroline Ansell, since December 12, 2019 for Eastbourne and Willingdon. Conservative.
Once considered a champion for Sovereign Harbour, after she declared the Annual Estate Rentcharge peculiar and unique to Sovereign Harbour and its covenants was unfair,   Phone 01323 734940. Email caroline@carolineansell.co.uk Website carolineansell.co.uk. 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. 

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.

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. 

Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). 27 councillors representing 9 wards. Councillors are elected by those living in and registered to vote in those wards. Sovereign Harbour is in Sovereign Ward (the easternmost).  EBC political representation is Liberal Democrats - 17 councillors; Conservatives - 9 councillors. Liberal Democrats have overall control with Councillor David Tutt as Leader, Councillor Steve Wallis as Mayor and Councillor Sammy Choudhury as Deputy Mayor of EBC. 

Local Councillors are elected by the community to decide how the council should carry out its various activities

They represent public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which he or she has been elected to serve a term of office. They have regular contact with the general public through council meetings, telephone calls or surgeries. Surgeries provide an opportunity for any ward resident to go and talk their councillor face to face and these take place regularly. Councillors are not paid a salary for their work, but they do receive allowances. By law, all members of the Council are required to complete a declaration of interest form, the details of which are published annually.

Councillor Penny di Cara.
Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC).  Phone 01323 479031. Email: councillor.dicara@eastbourne.gov.uk. Lives in Sovereign Harbour. Conservative.

Councillor Paul Metcalfe. Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). Phone 0784 1915274. Email: councillor.metcalfe@eastbourne.gov.uk. Lives in Sovereign Harbour. Conservative.

Councillor David Elkin. East Sussex County Council Chairman. Conservative. 

What other Eastbourne town areas get but we who live in Sovereign Harbour do not:

1. EBC & ESCC Councillors allow estate agents to omit showing key facts about Sovereign Harbour for prospective newcomers

They have declined to ensure that estate agents comply fully with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs). The government took this step to reduce duplicate legislation regulating estate agents and other businesses involved in property sales and lettings. The previous legislation, the Property Mis-descriptions Act 1991 (PMA), which had made it a criminal offence for estate agents to make false or misleading statements about properties being offered for sale, was repealed on1 October 2013. The CPRs prohibit all traders from using unfair commercial practices in their dealings with individual consumers, and estate agents in particular are prohibited from engaging in commercial practices that are unfair to sellers, buyers, potential sellers or potential buyers of residential property. The BPRs prohibit traders in all sectors, including estate agents, from using misleading practices in their business-to-business advertisements. This includes misleading marketing used to advertise property for sale. While the PMA only covered estate agents, the CPRs and BPRs are much wider in scope covering letting agents and property managers. 

The CPRs prohibit misleading actions that cause or are likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he or she would not have taken otherwise. The CPRs prohibit misleading actions that could cause average consumers to take a transactional decision he or she or they would not take otherwise.  A transactional decision is not just whether a consumer decides to purchase a property but also includes such things as to whether to view a property in the first place. A misleading action or omission includes omitting to mention any deeds or covenants or restrictions unique to an area such as those we alone in the UK, Europe and the world have to bear here in Sovereign Harbour. We know beyond any doubt this has caused some consumers, after hearing about the facts from present residents, to neither want to view nor buy or rent or lease any Sovereign Harbour property because of the extra costs and conditions of the Estate Rent charge and other factors that nowhere else imposes. 

Although the CPRs and BPRs have now been in force since 2008, some are clearly still unfamiliar to many estate agents and relevant others selling or leasing or renting properties and consumers.  This prompted the Office of Fair Trading to publish guidance specifically for estate agents on the new Regulations on what they need to know in applying descriptions on a property. They have been circulated and can be seen at https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/services/estate-agents-property-descriptions. There is also know a specified Code of Practice for all residential Estate Agents and relevant others. See  https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf Thus, Estate agents and relevant others selling or leasing or renting properties to consumers need to be particularly careful about how they advertise properties for sale or lettings, and to make sure their particulars on properties are accurate. Describing properties as ‘stunning’, ‘desirable’ or in a ‘quiet area’ now require evidence to back up such statements. Estate agents and relevant others selling or leasing or renting properties to consumers particulars that contain misleading omissions are also liable by the new Regulations. 

2. Sovereign Harbour's Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Council councillors are actively involved in making Sovereign Harbour residents alone pay a unique Annual Estate Rent Charge, found nowhere else in the world

Cost of annual estate rentcharge

Annual Estate Rentcharge 2020 cost is £261.80 per residence

Eastbourne 1 is the fair and biggest-by-far part of the town, comprising 8 of its 9 wards. There, none of the residents have to pay a Annual Estate Rentcharge. In all those eleven wards there are tree-lined streets, parks or recreational areas, beaches recognized as being a key part of Eastbourne, a tourism centre, hotels galore, frequent buses and trains, cinemas, theatres and more.

Eastbourne 2, in sorry comparison, specifically Sovereign Harbour (part of Sovereign Ward) is the unfair part of the town. Here, we have no cinema, culture, history, hotel, public carpet flower garden, recreational areas, tree lined streets, theatre, or other benefits of the type prevalent in Eastbourne 1. We have two beaches, Sovereign Harbour North and South but despite being in Eastbourne these beaches are not listed as Eastbourne’s. Bus service, which in the rest of Eastbourne is extensive and frequent with many routes is limited.  Buses on the 5 and 5a routes between Sovereign Harbour and Eastbourne are only one an hour during the day, less frequent during the evening and with none available after 10 pm.

Sovereign Harbour, however, is a major asset of huge economic benefit to the whole of Eastbourne. Yet others in the town now with over 100,000 residents do not pay a penny to contribute to it.  Only we 3,400 residents in the 300 acres of Sovereign Harbour do, so massively unfairly, via our hated Annual Estate Rentcharge of £261.80 per residential unit, irrespective of whether worth £140,000 or £1.4 million (yet council taxes are banded in council-assessed values with the least valuable paying far less than the most valuable) of a type not found in any other seaside attraction and marina in the whole of the UK or Europe or the rest of the world. Of the 5.4 million people who visited the town in 2019, more than 3.5 million visited Sovereign Harbour. The harbour since its creation has become the single-biggest attraction to Eastbourne's economy in size and importance. As the largest marina in the UK and second-largest in Europe it attracts yacht owners, yacht charters and their crews and guests from the whole of Europe and beyond. The landlords concerned  are the private Sovereign Harbour owners The Wellcome Trust and Premier Marinas. The UK's Environment Agency is also involved.

Not mentioned on any council or public authority is that 

The Eastbourne Borough Council has a representative on the board of the private sector Sovereign Harbour Trust and its subsidiary that levies the Annual Estate Rental Charge/harbour charge/water/flood defense charge above. Instead of formally objecting to it on behalf of their Sovereign Harbour constituents who alone have to pay the charge, and/or ensuring that others beyond Sovereign Harbour  who are also included in the flood area must pay it too instead of being exempted, our two councils both approve it and have direct representation on the facility that requires us to pay it via its Community Interest Company. This Estate Rental Charge occurs solely and uniquely within their jurisdiction. It means that both leasehold and freehold properties are thus covenanted in ways no other local authority in the UK, Europe or the world encounters. .

Are Councillors in any other part of Eastbourne or East Sussex appointed as directors of private-sector companies that charge residents-only, not businesses too, annual estate rentcharges? No. 

3. EBC and ESCC councillors will not tell you, as legal resources above do, to beware of places like Sovereign Harbour with Estate Rent Charges

So say the numerous reputable law firms and entities above because they cause grave concern. But Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council have approved the Estate Rentcharges for implementation by all property developers in Sovereign Harbour including the newest developments. Yet they do not exist in any of the 11 other Eastbourne or East Sussex areas.

People become property developers' prisoners unless urgent action is taken by central government and local authorities, experts have warned. The Conveyancing Association says the industry must move quickly to deal with the estate rentcharge issue which is becoming a “ticking timebomb”. Mortgage lenders are increasingly wary of properties that are subject to uncapped or unclear service charges for the upkeep of roads and shared areas that are not looked after by the local council. The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) says banks and building societies may refuse to lend on properties with high or increasing charges, making them potentially unmortgageable and unsaleable. As lenders tighten their policies regarding such maintenance contracts, existing borrowers who took out their deals before restrictions came into force may struggle to remortgage in the future, leaving them trapped. Your Mortgage Decisions director Dominik Lipnicki says: “We have heard horror stories about the cost of some service charges. This is in danger of becoming the next mis-selling scandal and creating a new wave of mortgage prisoners. The government and regulators need to get to grips with the issue quickly or it will have a severe effect on property values.” 

IMLA executive director Kate Davies explains that there are occasions when management fees are perfectly acceptable to ensure the upkeep of an estate, particularly where a local authority is not willing or able to take responsibility for roads and infrastructure on a development. But she says the fees must be fair and reasonable. Davies says: “Developers should make it absolutely clear up-front what services are to be provided and how the fees will be both initially set and subsequently increased. Lenders will always take a pragmatic approach to estate charges, but the protection of the borrower will be a priority. If any arrangements are unclear or potentially onerous, the lender may impose restrictions or ultimately decline to lend a property. Uncapped fees which could be increased without challenge or control, could therefore render a property both unsaleable and unmortgageable.” Developers will often sell on the land an estate sits on or the right to levy these servicing fees (known as “rentcharges” in the legal jargon) to a management company or property investment firm. By law, this landowner or rentcharge owner has the right to take drastic steps to recover their money if charges go unpaid for more than 40 days. These measures known as “remedies” under Section 121 of the Law of Property Act 1925 include repossessing the property or granting a long lease and requiring the home owner to pay a premium and the court costs to get rid of the lease.

4. Councillors of local authorities allow concealment of key information for mortgage and Equity Release lenders

Because councils and their councillors don't require estate agents to state up-front, accurately, that there is an Annual Estate Rentcharge applicable to all Sovereign Harbour residential properties they allow estate agents,  chartered surveyors, solicitors and local entities to refer to it inaccurately and misleadingly as a "harbour charge" -implying it is on the same basis as other harbour charges. It is not the same, it is hugely different.  Reputable mortgage lenders are very wary, for sound legal reasons, of financing properties affected by a rentcharge. To protect consumers who live in their areas, councils should be protecting them. They should not be allowing mortgage lenders to be deceived.  

5. Council Taxes payable by Harbour residents are higher than rest of Eastbourne but their market value is lower

EBC & ESCC Council Taxes 2020-2021

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

6. Newcomers pay appreciably more Council Taxes than other parts of Eastbourne even though their properties may worth less in market value than homes elsewhere in Eastbourne

Many estate agents selling or leasing or renting Sovereign Harbour properties do not habitually show the Council Tax applicable to each property. Here,  council taxes are paid to not one but two local authorities, Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council (which gets the biggest share of the taxes). A councillor from each authority serves Sovereign Harbour. Council Taxes in Sovereign Harbour are on average the highest in Eastbourne, far higher even for leasehold properties with no ownership of gardens or communal gardens or garages or outbuildings than for single family freehold residences with garages and outbuildings elsewhere in Eastbourne and with a higher market value.

7. Sovereign Harbour is Eastbourne's highest-yielding Ward for Council Taxes collection, with far fewer benefits and liabilities than other wards

Sovereign Harbour residents pay the highest council taxes in Eastbourne for mostly leasehold properties that in market value are worth less than others elsewhere in Eastbourne that are worth far more yet pay lower Council Taxes. There is not a single property in Sovereign Harbour in the A or B Council Tax category. Nor are there any schools or playing fields or recreational facilities or environmental habitats or even trees on pavements to fund in this part of Sovereign Ward. All other wards have such expenses. Sovereign Harbour beaches come under their jurisdiction. Sovereign Harbour residents pay the highest council taxes in the UK but get the fewest council-provided benefits. Neither the Eastbourne County Council nor East Sussex County Council recognize that for the Estate Rent Charge Sovereign Harbour residents alone have to pay on top of their Council Taxes they should be receiving a similarly unique category of a lower council tax applicable solely to payers of the Estate Rental Charge. Instead of being shown legally as Renters because they come under this unique Estate Rental Charge they get no discount, even when most residents are in fact not owners but long-leaseholders.

8. Councillors do not give Sovereign Harbour the same recognition from local authorities as other parts of Eastbourne get

There are two Eastbourne-s. One, the far larger part, comprising all other 11 wards, is fair.  But the Sovereign Harbour part of Sovereign Ward is prejudiced against. 

Sovereign Harbour is not included in any of the present or planned Tourism Accommodation areas of Eastbourne. There, they are are confined to the town or nearby on its western side. There are no present or planned facilities in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne's single-biggest major tourism and visitor attractions, visited by about 4.8 million visitors each year. All the other major attractions charge an entrance fee, Sovereign Harbour should be doing so too instead of merely charging its 3,400 residents. All tourism accommodation and visitor attractions are listed merely in or near the much more crowded Eastbourne town area, nice for local residents perhaps but now increasingly frustrating for visitors given the jammed-up summer traffic and more frustrating roundabouts than any other part of the UK per capita. There are no Sovereign Harbour hotels, however some flats offer tourist accommodation. Places with similar scenic features in other parts of the world that do offer any type of tourism accommodation are given adequate mention by their jurisdictions and it should be the case here too. 

9. 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

Councillors should be protecting and supporting their constituents by requiring cyclists to keep to the registered cycle lane on shared areas of council-adopted Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

Sovereign Harbour Councillors from the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County 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. 

With Covid 19 so prevalent in the UK since March 2020, EBC councillors are not insisting as they should and as central government requires that all including councillors need to abide by social distancing. It should 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 strategie

Councillors and cyclists need to know that recently from a Guardian newspaper report - see https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/feb/24/cyclist-settles-for-30000-pounds-after-hitting-pedestrian-who-was-looking-at-phone - 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. 

With Covid 19 so prevalent in the UK since March 2020, EBC and ESCC 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.

Of particular relevance. 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.  

10. Unlike all other areas of Eastbourne, Sovereign Harbour public roads have no council-provided tree-lined pavements

Unlike in all other Eastbourne Wards, all streets and roads of Sovereign Harbour are completely tree-less. As we pay Council Taxes too we should get the same pleasant tree-lined streets.

The main thoroughfares of Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Avenue in particular, and all their side streets, instead of showing off the public highways, landscape and harbour to best advantage, can presently be compared to featureless and flora-deficient military bases or some residential areas immediately adjacent to prisons  In all other nice neighborhoods their councils both plant trees and roadside shrubs and pay the cost of maintaining them and these costs are included in their council taxes. This should be the case in Sovereign Harbour also. In all other worldwide locations where scenic harbours and seaside exist, their local authorities have planted tall trees and palms. Photographs showing how Sovereign Harbour compares with international harbour, marina and seaside areas in tree-lined scenes will shortly be appearing.

Eastbourne avenue trees

The central government has said recently that to improve the quality of people's lives in towns and cities it has given £4.2 million to each local authority to plant trees on streets on which they live. None have gone to Sovereign Harbour. It is also accepted wisdom that trees planted on streets near where homes are for sale or rent can improve property prices by as much as 15-20%. Margaret Lipscombe, then the director of urban programmes at the Tree Council, says trees bring a plethora of benefits to people's lives. "Not only are trees beautiful but they are practical. They provide shade in the summer and then their leaves drop off, allowing light in when it is needed in winter. Additionally, they are good for climate change because trees and their foliage help put water back into the atmosphere which cools the area. And they jelp biodiversity as tree-lined streets provide wildlife, Plus, trees encourage healthier lifestyles. Studies have shown that people are calmer when trees are in their environment.  As the council has promised to put trees in the newest area of Sovereign Harbour North - Macauley Place - it should surely do the same to other streets and roads with no roadside trees elsewhere in Sovereign Harbour. 

Trees needed for Sovereign Harbour pavements & walkways

Examples above and below of how councils elsewhere, except the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council in  Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour, provide trees on roadsides

trees in a seaside area but not Sovereign Harbour

11. Sovereign Harbour's two beaches are not shown as Eastbourne beaches

Listed Eastbourne beaches only go as far as groyne number 94 at Langney Point. The Eastbourne beach list should have long ago been extended to include these two Sovereign Ward beaches in Eastbourne, because any member of the public is allowed on them. Yet only Sovereign Harbour resident, have to pay for beach maintenance in their Annual Estate Rentcharge. Presently, because they are not included in Eastbourne's beaches despite being in the Sovereign Ward councils area, they do not get the same level of supervision, oversight, dogs and leashes controls, usage rules and maintenance as Eastbourne beaches. No other localities in the UK with beaches in their council tax area deliberately omit beaches from their council jurisdiction.

12. EBC and ESCC councils accepted commuted sum payments from developers in lieu of affordable housing at Sovereign Harbour sites

Despite broadcasting publicly what they have been doing in affordable housing - see https://democracy.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/documents/s6189/Affordable%20Housing%20Supplementary%20Planning%20Document%20-%20Appendix%201.pdf - in fact they have, as councils, accepted extra payments from developers to exempt them from affordable housing requirements. A formula exists that allow developers to pay extra to their local councils to avoid affordable public housing that detracts from the marketability of the homes they build. 

The net effect of this has been that homes in those areas have cost homeowners more at Macauley Place and elsewhere, because the developers added the sums they have paid to councils to their costs to buyers. In the process, Councils have allowed developers on the private land they own to apply the Annual Estate Rentcharge

SHG spacer

Crematorium

Nearby, in Langley. 

SHG spacer

Cycling - council-approved 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. An established cycle route available to cyclists and the general public that only the above are approved for cyclists.

cycling 1Cycling 2

In Sovereign Harbour, only on Atlantic and Pacific Avenues in Sovereign Harbour do these signs appear, nowhere else.

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.  They have constant balance problems with risk of falling on narrow walkways, which is why their carers walk alongside them to be close enough to catch them if they fall. They need plenty of space for this. When they are forced to make way, as is too often the case, for fast cyclists who refuse to give way to walkers accidents will happen with innocent parties needing urgent 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, 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.

SHG spacer

Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (ESHDA)

SHG spacer

Eastbourne Hospitality Association

Works with Eastbourne tourism officials to set tourism development policy and Tourist Accommodation areas - in the town but not in Sovereign Harbour. A closed shop of accommodation owners. Most places abroad have long abandoned the policy of letting accommodation providers alone determine what their Tourism Accommodation boundaries should be. In Eastbourne, they are confined to the town or nearby on its western side. There are none at all in Sovereign Harbour, now one of Eastbourne's major tourism and visitor attractions.

SHG spacer

Eastbourne Lifeboat RNLI

Based in Sovereign Harbour.

SHG spacer

Estate Agents with Sovereign Harbour Properties for Sale or Rent, not including vital information

For Sale sign

They advertise local properties but 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 (CPRs) at https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf. In particular, re Published Material and Information about a Property, see 7i, 7j, 7k & 7l 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. 

They include:

What CPRs mean:

Estate agents have to disclose “fair” information to homebuyers and sellers. It must be clear, unambiguous and not  deliberately misleading or withholding information from buyers. 

That specifically includes making “material information” about a property instantly available. Such as Sovereign Harbour's unique-in-the-world annual estate rentcharge and its similarly unique-in-the-world covenants and obligations including a unique-in-all-the 9- wards-of-Eastbourne, UK and rest of the world flood defence scheme that extends from the 1 kilometre length of Sovereign Harbour 9 miles east to Bexhill that only the 3,400 or so residents of Sovereign Harbour pay for, not the 17,500 or so residents of Pevensey Bay to Bexhill do not.  

The law calls for “open, honest, clear and timely sharing of relevant information”. So no hiding information from buyers - such as shown above - until it’s too late. 

Until it was changed by this Act,  the buyer had the responsibility of finding out if a property was faulty or contained any flaws or matters such as annual estate rentcharges, their covenants and other relevant facts, and if they didn’t ask, the estate agent wasn’t obliged to point out such problems. But the 1993 Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA) has been scrapped and estate agents now have to comply with much stricter measures under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs). The law applies to estate agents, property developers and websites such as Righmove that introduce buyers to sellers as platforms and may also offer other services such as mortgages.

If any of these are deemed to be acting unfairly or concealing any information they are now legally obliged to give, they can be issued limitless fines and individuals and imprisoned for up to two years. CPRs stipulate that estate agents must be honest about their credentials, and not falsely claim that they are part of a professional body or redress scheme. They must provide “accurate descriptions of properties they are marketing”, that means pictures of the property should be realistic – so no spending hours looking for the one angle that doesn’t show the motorway at the end of the garden. A number of things can now be classed as withholding information from buyers. For example, not revealing planning permission or development in the area or proximity to a power station or sewage works is illegal and could result in prosecution. 

And if a number of sales have fallen through agents now have to find out why and alert the buyer. This means certain situations  will be less common because buyers are more likely to know about problems before starting the process. Local schools, night clubs or halfway houses also have to be mentioned, as do neighbours with ASBOs and whether there have been burglaries in the area. Buyers also need to know whether there has been a murder or suicide in the property. But the OFT warns that estate agents act for the seller, not the buyer and recommends that homebuyers contract their own solicitor or licensed surveyor to act for them when a contract of sale has been agreed. 

The OFT has also issued information packs on the process for both homebuyers and sellers. The OFT say consumers should take control of the situation by doing their own research into the buying process, it is not the responsibility of  solicitors to do so, of being clear with estate agents about their requirements and keeping written records of conversations about buying the property. Buyers can now expect estate agents to investigate potential problems they think might become an issue, such as suspicions of damp or probable leaks. Although it may be hard to prove that your estate agent had a suspicion unless they specifically tell you so. They also have to mention Green Deal loans (which allow owners to make improvements to the property and then pay them back with the savings on their electricity bill), because these debts are passed on to new owners. Other practices that are considered unfair include putting buyers under undue pressure to skip the survey, raise their offer or exchange contracts. Estate agents should also offer their own complaints procedure.

Important points to note about buying or leasing a Sovereign Harbour property:

About making an offer. It must be conveyed to you upfront, from the advertisement of the property, that the property is subject to an Annual Estate rentcharge and what the latter's components are and how it will affect you.  There are many properties for sale in Sovereign Harbour and all are about the same distance from shops and services. If you later find out from a surveyor you offered too much you can cancel before you sign.  Ask about any other offers made on the property, for how much and for how long the property has been on the market. If the house has been languishing on the market for a while, the seller might be prepared to accept a lower price. While the estate agent isn’t legally obliged to disclose this information, you might get a hint. Any problems with the property – from structural issues to rowdy neighbours? Why is the seller selling? Check what nearby homes have sold for with Zoopla’s valuation tool. Use this and other information you have gleaned to balance your offer. 

Many Sovereign Harbour properties have not just one but several separate organizations that purchasers should know about. They all have different roles. Know that the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association is not one of them (it is a voluntary association with no statutory powers). 

Annual maintenance charges. Especially applicable to leasehold homes and flats and particularly so in Sovereign Harbour. Apartment and flat buildings and leasehold flat owners are required in their leases to pay these charges. In most cases the developer and/or owner of the building sets up a management company of which you will have to become a member.  This company then employs another company, a managing agent. They organise the necessary maintenance work each year, the public liability insurance, etc. In a number of new estates you will note from the accounts that the fee payable to the managing agent makes up a large proportion of the annual fee. Recent examples were around 50% in some cases as the administration costs on a new estate are often more than the initial maintenance costs.  In older leases the fee that the landlord or their agent could charge was a set proportion of the cost of the works.  This kept their fees to reasonable proportions. As with a leasehold property the level of the annual charges are largely controlled by the managing agent. So there is little practical opportunity to challenge this.  Whilst there are procedures available they are lengthy and costly.

Annual Estate Rentcharges. See under "Estate rentcharges."

Area. There are two main areas, Sovereign Harbour North and Sovereign Harbour South. Check them out before committing to know about the many local roundabouts, transport links, green spaces if you have children, where you will live in relation to the locales of schools. (South Harbour is best for them). The local shopping centre is as convenient to both, so are the restaurants and bars, buses and train stations in and near Eastbourne. The Harbour Medical Centre and yacht club are in North Harbour.

Area shops, medical services and buses or trains. All are conveniently close, about the same distance as other Sovereign Harbour properties.

Association for your leased building or ssociated buildings. If you will be a long-leaseholder there is likely a particular association for that building or that owner's group of buildings. All leaseholders of a particular building should become members, usually for a small annual cost. Why?  Members provide a common defence against matters such possible attempts by managing agents or building owners to raise fees for new maintenance or related works. When a leasehold association has 60 percent or more of its occupants as members in good standing it has a legal right to challenge arbitrary decisions. If that 60/% is not realized because not enough occupants are current members, managing agents and/or the building's owners (who usually appoint the managing agents) are legally entitled to proceed without such blockage or interference. Only when a leasehold association reaches 60% of its leasehold-holding owner-occupants does it have the power to demand a change of managing agents. This has happened especially when either management charges and additional maintenance expenses have been deemed excessive - unrealistically high by the majority of members of the leaseholders association, or when the managing agents and/or owners of buildings have been continuously uncommunicative, or both. The third is the managing agent of that building.

Avoid asking an estate agent to find a solicitor or conveyancer for you. If you don't do this you could be put in touch with an outfit from Cardiff or wherever, so unfamiliar with this area that they think a chancel repair liability (see below( applies. 

Balconies. Many flats have them. Newcomers should note that some apartment buildings have flats with balconies next to each other, which can be a problem, noise instead of quietness if a neighbor's balcony is being occupied noisily by friends at the same time as the other neighbour seeks use of a balcony. 

Beware of Freehold claims that are not completely true.  In Sovereign Harbour, so-called "freehold" homes are not freehold in fee absolute. Instead, they too, like leaseholders, are subject to the annual estate rentcharge any other covenants applicable. 

Broadband and WIFI availability. Medium speed broadband/WIFI is readily available at a cost from many suppliers but be aware Cable from Virgin Media still is not in 2020. When asked in 2016 when it might become available Virgin Media was unable to say for sure. It said it was hoping to but that was four years ago. Not being able to get the fastest-speed cable WIFI in Sovereign Harbour is a liability not an asset for both individuals and businesses dealing with this area.

Car parking. If assigned and with no garage, is the parking covered or in the open on or underneath and conveniently near to the property? Potential buyers or renters or lessees need to look at the parking beforehand to see if the parking space is big enough for their vehicle and if it can be accessed without difficulty. Is there a space to store a cycle, motor bike, mobility scooter and wheelchair? If you or a member of your family are disabled and have a Blue Badge, is there assigned disabled parking? Car parking for more than one car households. If a garage is not offered be aware there may not be assigned parking for more than one vehicle. Are certain types of vehicles such as vans or trucks not permitted  to park on the property?

Centrally heated?  Many flats are not, are instead individually room-heated by radiators. If some have both gas and electricity this should be stated. If newcomers want both gas and electricity they should make a point of avoiding premises that have electricity only, which is by far and away the single most expensive form of heating.

Chancel repair liability. Not applicable to or required for Sovereign Harbour. Prospective purchasers from other parts of the UK need to know this and let their solicitors or conveyance agents know. If not, they could be charged for a irrelevant service. Chancel repair liability applicable in some pother parts of the UK  goes back hundreds of years to King Henry VIII and the establishment of the Church of England. There, some houses (and flats) stand on land that is still subject to a perpetual liability to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of the parish church. The chancel is that part of a traditionally laid-out church containing the altar and where the clergy and choir sit – usually at the east end of the church.

Chartered surveyor services. They give you (a) a written report on the condition of the property; (b) an unbiased present valuation of the property; and (c)  an indication of any planning that might be in progress or applied for that might affect your views. It will cost you £450 or more to have this survey report made but if also includes a specific mention of the unique-in-the-world annual estate rentcharge, its covenants and latest costs it will be money well spent. If it does not, challenge and register a complaint.

Rapala Court, Midway QuayCladding. Avoid buying a Sovereign Harbour property in a flat building that has cladding so as not to get lumbered with any expensive present or contingent liability for cladding. Estate agents selling Sovereign Harbour properties must divulge when a property has cladding as a number in Sovereign Harbour do and owners/ leaseholders are also now required by law to give complete details with no omissions. One estate agent was fined heavily for not releasing this information upfront when required. As of February 2021 estate agents selling Sovereign Harbour properties are still not showing the annual estate rentcharge applicable, its covenants and whether cladding applies. Owners of the properties are also obliged by law to state this. Mortgage companies may refuse to grant mortgages for properties with cladding without an applicable External Wall Fire Review (EWSI) certificate and they may be deemed worthless until they are certified appropriately. EWSI certificates were originally designed for apartment blocks taller than 18 metres (59 feet) but in January 2021 the government issued advice saying buildings of all heights must be assessed for cladding. When Tarmac, later Carillion (now liquidated), developed Sovereign Harbour it, through a subsidiary, is thought to have supplied the cladding for most of the Sovereign South Harbour and Midway Quay properties. Unfortunately, in the early months of 2021, very low prices for some of these properties have been advertised for sale, some to "cash buyers" only, but without any disclosure that there is a cladding issue. The local Member of Parliament has promised support but as other Sovereign Harbour wrongs that have occured since 2003 have not been righted while Sovereign Harbour went from Conservative to Liberal Democratic and recently back to Conservative territory. In February 2021 the government via Housing Minister Mr. Robert Jenrick announced a new £3.5 billion new policy which has been scorned as not nearly enough. It favours tenants in high rise buildings but means homeowners in pricier buildings under 18 metres will have to pay for remediation works via a plan with a ceiling. Technically, owners of the buildings still have the right to ask their leaseholders to foot their portion of the cladding bill re-installment as one of the conditions of the covenant they signed, and if leaseholders refuse the developers/owners have the right to resell the leases. Mr Jenrick was specific in tying his remarks to cladding only. Once an investigation for cladding starts cladding may become just the surface of the problem. It may reveal problems underneath. These costs will continue to fall on leaseholders. They will have no help when paying to remedy other problems. Some properties did not meet regulations in place at the time they were built and may have major structural defects such as missing cavity wall barriers and fire breaks.

On 28 February 2021 the Daily Telegraph reported that the estimated cost of remediation per property is between £40,000 and £50,000 with homeowners also required to cover the cost of interim measures such as waking watches and huge increases in buildings insurance premiums.  Cash buying companies have reported a surge in enquiries from desperate leaseholders trying to shift properties any any cost to escape bankruptcy.

Sovereign Harbour properties with cladding issues

Sovereign Harbour  six and higher-storey properties with cladding, located on The Boardwalk

Cupboards, closet or other storage spaces in flats. Very important for some newcomers. Many Sovereign Harbour flats have two bedrooms but few have adequate cupboard or wardrobe space for two people, often barely enough in those two bedrooms for one person. Some have no built-in cupboard spaces Many flats here were constructed primarily for part-time or holiday, not full-time year-round, use.

Commonhold. A recent (2002) type of holding for residential units  - but does not presently apply to any property subject to an annual estate rentcharge like Sovereign Harbour. It is a system of property ownership in England and Wales. It involves the indefinite freehold tenure of part of a multi-occupancy building (typically a flat) with shared ownership of and responsibility for common areas and services. It has features of the strata title and the condominium systems, which exist in Australia, Canada and the United States. It was introduced by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 as an alternative to leasehold, and was the first new type of legal estate to be introduced in English law since 1925. An important difference between commonholds on the one hand and leaseholds (leases) on the other is that commonholds do not depreciate in value towards the end of their term (term of years or in extraneous documents sometimes existence). In the years since the 2002 Act became law, only a handful of commonholds have been registered, whilst hundreds of thousands of long leases have been granted during the same period. As of 3 June 2009, there were 12 commonhold residential developments comprising 97 units (homes) in England and one commonhold residential development comprising 30 units (homes) in Wales.Where freehold houses should be subjected to positive covenants which force their owners contribute to communal maintenance, such as in garden squares, as few such duties can attach to freeholds, access to such areas can be physically restricted to those who own that area, commonly through a residents' management company. Such a company, if the land was owned by the original landlord such as a developer, may come into the hands of the lessees (tenants) through a statutory process leading to legal agreements or a court order which creates a limited liability right to manage (also known as an RTM) company. A common alternative has been rentcharges where truly necessary services or contributions need to be made which cannot devolve to a local authority or statutory undertaker through adoption.

Conveyancing Fees incur considerable additional expenses in Sovereign Harbour. It affects both buyers and setters. This happens with a particular emphasis in leasehold not freehold homes because of the legal implications involved in the annual estate rentcharge. Additional parties involve the Sovereign Harbour, its subsidiary, managing agents and the landlord owners of the property. They each charge buyers and sellers not only for a revised property registration with the national authority but also for their staff operational expenses in getting the property re-registered. Of all the many harbours owned by The Wellcome Trust and its subsidiary Premier Marinas  that owns Sovereign Harbour, only in Sovereign Harbour, not in any others, does this annual estate rentcharge and its unique covenants - and subsequent extra costs - apply.  This considerable extra expense is not the only problem. Another is that this cumbersome process of ending the re-conveyancing process can easily end up taking months, not weeks.

Council Taxes & local authorities. The latter are Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. they both charge council taxes to Sovereign Harbour residents. Their combined totals make East Sussex one of the top three most expensive places in the entire UK for council taxes. All Sovereign Harbour council taxes are appreciably higher than those in other parts of Eastbourne of similar or higher market value. Some flats in the Eastbourne area in buildings with garages or a shared one, therefore with more space, but their owners pay the the same council taxes, not more, than flats without garages even when residents of the latter have paid a higher price for their flat than those with garages. The Councils concerned deem this irrelevant. In most cases, all residents of one building pay the same council taxes irrespective of whether some units have either more rooms or a garage or share one in lieu. In view of this it is recommended that if more than one unit in a building is for sale, with one offering a garage or a shared one and the other does not, go for the one with a garage.

Disadvantages of buying property in Sovereign Harbour. There are five key reasons for these disadvantages. The first is that there are lots of other south, south west and south east communities with equally lovely harbour views and beaches, nice communities and nearby shops - and all, with the sole exception of Sovereign Harbour - without the hated annual estate rentcharge or similar rentcharge that applies to both current and future purchasers of any Sovereign Harbour property. The second is that, unlike Sovereign Harbour, their local authorities - councils - look after those specific areas, have trees planted, clean their beaches  and do not serve both as on the one hand as councillors and on the other hand as directors of private trusts that collect the annual estate rentcharge, in a gross conflict of interest. Nor have these councils concerned ever objected and tried to stop of their 4,200 or so Sovereign Harbour constituents in Eastbourne Borough Council's Sovereign Ward 8 from being thee only people in the whole of the UK to have to pay an Environment Agency flood defence cost as part of that annual estate rentcharge while 17,500 or so residents in the same flood zone that stretches eight miles east to Bexhill on Sea pay nothing. The third is that you will likely find only one council area for your council taxes. We here in Sovereign Harbour pay two councils, Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. Both are among the most expensive councils in the UK. The fourth is that because other areas like Sovereign Harbour do not have an annual estate rentcharge it will be easier, quicker and cheaper to buy and if you wish later sell, and for you and any other future purchaser to get a regular mortgage or Equity Release on that property. It is a fact that when Sovereign Harbour property owners have sold their properties or need Equity Release they fail to say the properties may not qualify for a mortgage, or will have to pay substantially more for an indemnity, because they are subject to the legal constraints of an annual estate rentcharge. The fifth relate to the extra charges buyers and sellers of Sovereign Harbour properties - but not in other harbour or seafront properties without such a annual estate rentcharge - have to pay to the management company and/or the developers and the Sovereign Trust for registration of new owners. 

Electricity meters & suppliers. All homes have meters. Currently, they are controlled by a radio signal but this will be ending soon. Some Sovereign Harbour properties have both electricity and gas, others have electricity only. Be aware electricity is the most expensive form of home eating. Some homes without gas do not have electrical central heating, instead per-radiator heating which can hugely increase the electricity cost. Homeowners can select which electricity and/or gas company they prefer and can pay monthly by direct debit or in another mutually agreeable way.

Energy coding for the property. Normally done when a property is bought or sold. 

Estate rentcharges .Usually, when private developers build homes on land they buy, the local council - in the case of Sovereign Harbour where there are now over 4,300 such estate-rentcharge homes - the Eastbourne Borough Council - will "adopt" the estate, meaning it will be responsible for the upkeep of public spaces, maintaining roads, paths and pathways and paying for other costs, in return for the council taxes they will charge their constituents. But local councils are not presently required to do this. With their budgets often under some pressure, some local authorities have not "adopted" many new developments. Instead, they have managed to evade laws or regulations or similar that now require them to tell builders not only how many properties they can build but also how many must be affordable or low-cost, and in effect a mix of what kind of people can live there, by imposing premium licencing prices on the developers of the land concerned, thereby ensuring for the builders occupancy of the homes they build by those who can afford it by way of savings or earnings or mortgages or employable prospects. Developers in turn cover this in two ways, by increasing the cost of the house to partly recoup the extra cost levied by the council, and by applying a (often hidden by actual name) annual estate rentcharge. All Sovereign Harbour pay them. No other harbour or marina in the entire UK charges them. An annual estate rentcharge is a legal device in existence since the 1290 Statute of Quia Emptores and was eorinally paid to the lord of the manor in perpetuity. Once applicable, a rentcharge/annual estate rentcharge binds both the present and future owner of the freehold or leasehold Sovereign Harbour property. In 1977 an Act dissolved the application of all fresh rentcharges but excluded - because of pressure from landlords particularly including those with Sovereign Harbour properties - any similar beneficial provision for annual estate rentcharges. Under that legislation all rentcharges other than estate rentcharges will be extinguished on or by 22 August 2037. Unfortunately, freeholders concerned have little or no say in either in the process of buying or the charges. Estate agents, despite being required to do so by The Property Ombudsman, other similar regulatory agencies, fail to state in their advertising of particular homes, whether an annual estate rentcharge applies, what it also entail and its covenants. Thus the 4,300 or so consumer property buyers in Sovereign Harbour, where there are number of individual developments both new and well-established, are not told that a unique Environment Agency flood defence charge is payable by them as part of the annual estate rentcharge - but not by the 17,500 or so other homeowners in the same flood zone that extends 8 miles east to Bexhill on Sea. Freeholders have typically little say in the process and the charges. Often, what they are paying for and whether the decisions made offer good value for money are not transparent. Legally, developers or management companies can take possession of a property if homeowners fall just 40 days behind on their payments. Whilst used rarely, it could mean homeowners effectively lose thousands of pounds due to forgetting to pay a relatively small bill.  For legal reasons, because of the annual estate rentcharge, regular mortgages for buyers may not be available and those who need to get a lifetime mortgage or Equity Release may also not be able to do so. Some property owners may not mind paying an estate rentcharge but should be warned that the rentcharge obligation continues with subsequent purchasers of the same property and they might well mind. Also, under present regulations sellers must disclose it, cannot pretend to prospective purchasers that it is a mere "harbour charge. 

 

Freehold. The UK Government's Land Registry states that all land in England and Wales, technically belongs to the Crown. What “land owners” actually own is a right to use and occupy their land, called an “estate in land”. These estates were granted by the Crown centuries ago to noblemen, who in turn granted estates out of their land to farmers and such. Prior to 1925 and the introduction of the Law of Property Act 1925, which is the basis of modern land law, there were many different types of estate but the Law of Property Act reduced these to two: Freehold and Leasehold. Freehold (or to give it its full name, “fee simple absolute in possession”), is in practical terms absolute ownership. The owner of the freehold estate has a perpetual right to use and occupy the property to the exclusion of all others (except anyone with a legal right over the property such as a right of way) and is free to sell, mortgage, lease, gift or bequeath the land as he wishes. Although technically the land still belongs to the Crown, as long as there is someone to inherit the right will continue for eternity so that the Crown has no real influence.

Flood Zones for the property concerned, for insurance purposes. North Harbour is in Flood Zone 3, South Harbour is in Flood Zone 2. Note that while all other areas of the UK do not pay for Environment Agency flood protection, Sovereign Harbour owner--residents are the glaring exception with part of their annual estate rentcharge payment going to the Environment Agency in a way that no one else in the UK has to pay. On 19th November 2019 the government announced some compensation for homeowners hit by floods - see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-grants-to-help-protect-properties-from-flooding - but the 3,400 or so Sovereign Harbour residents may be excluded while residents in the same flood zone extending from Sovereign Harbour in the west to Bexhill-on-Sea 9 miles to the east will be included.

Flooring. Some flats have wood or composite, others have concrete. Those with wooden floors mean that neighbours below can expect more noise.

Freehold with fee simple.  Note that 99% of the relatively few "freehold)" Sovereign Harbour are not freehold in fee simple. Instead, they have to pay the annual estate rentcharge. Freehold with fee simple is the highest form of freehold, meaning no Estate Rent Charge, no leasehold fees, no management fees. Only a tiny minority, perhaps 6 homes out of the 3400 or thereabouts Sovereign Harbour residences are in this category.

Garages. Some flats in buildings have either full or shared garages. Owners in the same building pay the the same council taxes, not more, as flats without garages .All owner- residents of one building pay the same council taxes  If more than one unit in a building is for sale, with one offering a garage or a shared one and the other does not, go for the one with a garage.

Ground rent. A similar concept to a Rentcharge but applicable only to leasehold not freehold properties. Payable by all Sovereign Harbour leaseholders in addition to the annual estate rentcharge, at an average annual rate of £140 per residential unit per year for properties built 10 years or less earlier. Ground rent on properties more than 10 years old may be charged significantly more. In some cases ground rents double every 10 years. This increase is often built into contacts, meaning that some people can struggle to sell their homes and find themselves trapped.

Hanging out laundry to dry outside. Not allowed by most leases. It might be justified in part where some properties are deemed exclusive and private and members of the public are not allowed to pass by. But they cannot be justified in properties where, such as in Sovereign Harbour, walkways and paths are not exclusive because they allow any and all members of the public who are not Sovereign Harbour residents to cycle or stroll or walk by and on the beachside, bring their dogs. If they are allowed and dogs can leave their messes for hours or days without being picked up by owners then surely Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders should not be prevented from hanging out their laundry to dry for just a few hours. 

Hot water boilers. In their own best interests, newcomers purchasing or leasing Sovereign Harbour homes need to get sellers to give them dates or years of purchase, or better yet, the paperwork from when bought, of hot water boilers. Why? Because they need to be serviced yearly and buyers need to know when the next service is due. If this information is not given there is a grave risk of a boiler flooding by day or night, ruining floors and carpets and possibly also affecting neighbors. Flooding has occured frequently in apartments of certain buildings.

Kitchens and washer-dryer equipment. Many kitchens in Sovereign Harbour flats are smaller than in a house, which means their appliances are also smaller. Persons used to doing a large load of laundry and using a separate dryer will be dismayed by the small size and capacity of many combined washing machines and dryers. Most flats were kitchen-designed to be used for holidays, not year-round residence. Most refrigerators are also smaller and a number are under-the-counter accessible as separate small refrigerator and freezer units, instead of larger combined stand-alone units. Newcomers purchasing property should ask sellers about the age of their stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves. Many newcomers have had to replace those either more than 10 years old dating back to when the apartments or homes were first built, or that are operating inefficiently. These are expenses that need to be budgeted for

Leases. Almost all ‘owned’ flats in England and Wales are in fact leasehold, as are many houses. As a long leaseholder you buy the exclusive right to live in your property for a fixed number of years (“the Term”). This time limit on ownership of the apartment or flat only, not any other part of the building or property on which it sits, is a key factor to consider. The ownership of the structure and common parts of a building containing flats are usually retained by the landlord. The responsibility for maintenance of the structure, the upkeep of common parts, placing of the building's insurance and provision of services usually rests with the landlord (who may or may not be the freeholder). A lease is a legal term used in property law to describe a particular type of property contract. In many respects a lease is similar to any other type of contract: it is a private contract between you and your landlord and sets out the rights and duties of both parties. Your lease will allow you to occupy the property for a fixed number of years: typically for 99 or 125 years when first granted. The length of the lease reduces over time from the date when it was originally granted. The outstanding term will depend on what was left when you took over the lease. The lease will also expire automatically at the end of the term, although many - but not all - long leaseholders have a statutory right to stay on as renting tenants at the end of the lease, buy the freehold or extend their lease/

Leasehold homes (houses) beware. A BBC report of September 2018 noted that about half the people who bought a leasehold house in the past decade - including in Sovereign Harbour - had no odea what they were getting into, according to a new study. Homebuyers faced high fees and charges, with many feeling they were mis-sold. The research follows controversy which led the government to crackdown on "unjustified" leasehold houses. The National Association of Estate Agents warned: "Most buyers have no idea about the trappings of a leasehold contract until it's too late." The new property trap has affected thousands. Leasehold house owners are often charged expensive ground rent as well as fees if they want to make changes to their homes. The report found that leaseholders paid an average of £277 per year in ground rent when they moved in, and are currently paying £319, with most having been in their properties for three or four years. It also said that freeholders typically charged home owners £1,422 to install double glazing, £887 to change the kitchen units, and £689 to replace the flooring. Some faced bills of £527 for changing their blinds and £411 for installing a new front door. As a result 94% of housebuyers regretted buying a leasehold while 62% felt they were mis-sold, according to the study. Unsellable houses have resulted. A leasehold house can also be difficult to sell. A third of those currently trying to move said they were struggling to attract a buyer because they do not own the freehold. Meanwhile a quarter said house-hunters who were interested were put off when they found out it was a leasehold home. Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark, said: "In most instances, the freehold is sold onto a third party within a few years of the initial sale. This means the terms in the contracts homeowners have signed will change, and any negotiations are made more difficult." House builders started offering more and more new leasehold houses because it offered them an extra income stream either through ground rent or from selling on the leases to investment companies. Many of the leases included onerous rising ground rents that have now been outlawed. Last year, Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK's biggest housebuilders, was forced to set aside £130 million to compensate home buyers because of the scandal. Last December, a government crackdown put a stop to the sale of new leasehold houses in England, And in June, the Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, announced that housing developers would no longer be able to use any new government funding schemes for unjustified new leasehold houses. Mr Hayward called on the government to ensure that leasehold homeowners were treated transparently and fairly in the future. He said: "Almost all of the homeowners we surveyed say they wouldn't advise their friends or family to buy a leasehold home, which is a damning indictment on the industry. It's time we listened to this and sought a robust solution for all those affected, unable to sell their homes, and serving a leasehold life sentence." He reckons buyers of new-build homes should have access to an ombudsman scheme and that freeholders of leasehold properties should be required to sign up to a redress scheme. A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said it was "unacceptable for home buyers to be exploited through unfair and abusive practices within the leasehold system". "This is why we have already announced measures that include a ban on leaseholds for almost all new-build houses and restricting ground rents to a peppercorn." He said the government was also working with the Law Commission to support existing leaseholders to make buying a freehold or extending a lease "faster, fairer and cheaper". A spokesman for the Home Builders Federation said: "The vast majority of new-build houses are sold on a freehold basis, but it can be necessary on occasion to sell new houses with leases. As such, leasehold is a well-established and secure tenure with which to own a home. In all transactions, builders strive to provide prospective purchasers, their solicitors and their mortgage lenders with all relevant information. Purchasers are always advised to engage their own legal advice during the purchase of a home."

Leasehold Reforms legislation planned, but unlikely to apply to Sovereign Harbour. See https://www.naea.co.uk/news/january-2021/leasehold-reform-to-save-households-up-to-tens-of-thousands-of-pounds.aspx. Great news for some but unlikely in Sovereign Harbour. Why? Because of the annual estate rentcharge liability to harbour residents, unlike residents in other places that have rent charges but not annual estate rentcharges or management fees that include annual estate rentcharges. 

Leases

Lift in property?  Essential in the selected property for disabled or elderly and vulnerable residents who cannot climb or descend staircases. This should be a requirement, especially because most properties do not have facilities to take care of the vulnerable in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Managing agents are appointed to collect annual or semi-annual demands for management fees payable by leaseholders and to maintain all lifts and common external areas of the building including the exteriors of garages and parking spaces. But they do not get involved in non-common areas. Leaseholders should also know that if their buildings have lifts installed their management fees will be higher than buildings without lifts, but leaseholders without their own garages will pay the same management fee, not less, than leaseholders with garages, even when those without garages have paid more for their properties than those with garages. Some managing agents are more responsive than others in answering questions or handling complaints. The fourth is the owner of that building. When occupiers seek, on an individual (non-common) basis, information about their flat, or make any complaint, or have or create any damage or make any structural internal changes to their flats, such as creating or changing rooms or walls or partitions or bathrooms or showers they should probably copy managing agents into but should make sure their submissions are addressed to the owners of the buildings concerned. 

Mobile telephone usability. Some Sovereign Harbour homes and flats have poor signal strength. Avoid cheap deals with certain not well-known suppliers and instead stick with BT or Sky or EE or PlusNet or similar. Some newcomers in certain buildings have found that their mobile phone usage is unreliable and that they have to go outside to get a reasonable signal.

Mortgage applications for Sovereign Harbour properties. Prospective buyers should be aware that mortgage applicants will be required to disclose to mortgage entities that an Annual Estate Rentcharge is applicable throughout Sovereign Harbour. Estate agents fail to disclose this, instead refer to it as merely a harbour charge. Be warned that many reputable mortgage companies, for sound legal reasons, may consider the Annual Estate Rentcharge as toxic and either decline to arrange a mortgage or require specific additional indemnity at a cost. Another  problem, partly due to the 2020 pandemic claiming more casualties than ever in 2021, is the grim and worsening economic outlook which has tightened the mortgage market further for many potential buyers. Some can no longer get a mortgage if on furlough. In some cases banks have withdrawn mortgage offers in principle when buyers' jobs have been affected by lockdown restrictions. A third factor is the problem with cladding when applicable and the requirement for external wall safety forms. The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported in January 2021 that as many as 4.6 million homeowners (including some in Sovereign Harbour) have found their properties are unmortgageable according to reliable industry analysts. 

Porches or balconies adjacent to those other flats. Some buildings with flats have these. This means less privacy and more noise when both flats have people on their porches or balconies at the same time. And in the summer, when you need more air but stay inside, you will want your windows or doors open. But if people on the adjacent balcony or porch in the neighbor's flat are making a noise, you may have to close your window or door. 

Rentcharge. A type of legal interest in a house, land, apartment or flat. The owner of a rentcharge is entitled to collect a rent from the owner or leasehold owner affected by it and will have a "right of re-entry" if the rentcharge is not paid. In addition to the obligation to pay the latter there are often other covenants which, if breached, give the rentcharge owner  right of re-entry. Rentcharges, like mortgages, can be bought or sold. The Rentcharges Act 1977 banned the creation of new non-estate rentcharges but did not affect existing ones.

Renters.  They will be required to pay, in addition to their monthly rent, an upfront deposit amounting to up to two months rent, get estate-agency approved contents insurance and more. If from abroad, or with insufficient monthly income for a monthly rent but with provable sufficient savings, there is a way out. Renters can elect to pay in advance for the first six months of their rental tenancy. Most rental agreements appear to be for an initial six month period.  

Residents Association. Here in Sovereign Harbour a residents association is an informal representative body of freeholders - but not in fee simple, all subject to the annual estate rentcharge that affects flat owners and tenants. It holds no statutory powers and is quite different to a registered legal entity even though the body of membership may be similar or identical. 

Restrictions in leasing or subleasing or letting or short-term renting. Owners of leases in some buildings clearly stipulate that sub-letting or holiday renting is not allowed for short periods such as weekly holiday lets, while others in the same building do not any such restrictions. Read leases carefully and agree or object and look elsewhere.

Right of Entry into Possession. By freeholders whose leaseholders fail to pay the Annual Estate Rentcharge when due.

Sea views or countryside views. May be important to you. If so, don't go for a property without one or the other.

Second Home Owners. Many Sovereign Harbour properties are second homes, including flats/apartments. From April 2020 the government has tightened a loophole that allowed their owners to benefit from cheaper business rates. Their tax bills may rocket. In England, second home owners can pay business rates instead of council tax on their properties if they declare they intend to make their properties available to let for at least 140 days in the coming year. Until 2021 was no mechanism to verify this. Now there is. It will need be properly verified to claim the cheaper business rate instead of council tax. 

Smart meters. Available now for some but not for all. Smart meters are controlled by a radio, not a WIFI, signal. Some electricity companies can install it while others cannot, claiming concrete interferes. Smart meters in apartment buildings will save the owner of the unit from having to physically go down to where electricity meters are, to take a reading. Smart meters send information directly to the electric company supplier. Newcomers should request one if available.

Stamp Duty. In 2020 there was a temporary stamp duty exemption on certain sole homes (but not holiday or second homes) being bought but it stops on June 30, 2021 . In July 2020 the nil-rate stamp duty band in England and Northern Ireland on sole homes was raised from £125,000 to £500,000. It then meant that 90% of all new Sovereign Harbour property owners could avoid payment of stamp duty that a similar percentage of earlier local property owners had to pay. But the change has yielded a net loss, not gain, to the Treasury and has to be discontinued.

Water and waste water supplier.  Southern Water. All Sovereign Harbour properties are metered. Southern Water has a Priority Services register for those qualified. Average monthly water bills are £38-48.

Water feature charge. Applies to about 309 properties within the precinct of the water feature in Sovereign Harbour South. Owners have to agree by covenant to pay this. It amounts to over £260 per qualifying residential unit per year in 2020-2021. This is in addition to normal water costs. No other water feature anywhere else in the world has this surcharge, especially for water that cannot be used for swimming or paddling and is full of chemicals.

Working from home. Residents who are leaseholders should know that the leases in some Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings state specifically that they do not allow professionals to work from homeNot to allow all residents to work from home is archaic and anti government policy, especially when both the central  government and local councils require some to work from home during the Covid-19 crisis.

SHG spacer

Ferry

Nearest Europe ferry to and from here is Newhaven, 12 miles or 30 minutes away. It operates a service to/from Dieppe. 

SHG spacer

Fishermen's Club

Sports and social club for members nearby.

SHG spacer

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 cuttlefish 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. 

SHG spacer

Flood zones areas 

Flood signFor home and/or content insurance. 

Residents should inform their insurers about the following:

SHG spacer

Hamilton Quay

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

SHG spacer

Golf Clubs

Several nearby.

SHG spacer

NHS practice Harbour Medical Practice

1 Pacific Avenue, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6DW. Phone 01323 470370 to make an appointment.  With the Covid 19 crisis pre-made appointments visits are a must. Has about 7,500 NHS patients in and beyond Sovereign Harbour North and South. 

A good practice, with doctors, nurses and support staff, in a modern building with its own spacious car park and 2 disabled access bays immediately in front. 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). 

There are several other practices near but not in the harbour that also cater to Sovereign Harbour residents. 

SHG spacer

Harbour multi-purpose bins

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. 

SHG spacer

Harbour Police

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

SHG spacer

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:

SHG spacer

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

SHG spacer

Hospitals 

Eastbourne District General Hospital. See https://www.esht.nhs.uk/eastbourne-dgh/. King's Drive, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 2UD. Telephone 0300 131 4500. Operated by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Only 3 miles away but it can take 20 minutes to 1 hour to get there depending on traffic. There are 15 separate roundabouts between Sovereign Harbour North and the hospital. Patients pay for parking in the hospital car park, up to £12 per day. There is limited free parking for those with disabled  parking badges for up to three hours.

Eastbourne District General Hospital

Hospital Chaplaincy. Chaplaincy team members offer support during your time in hospital. They are available to anyone, whether or not patients consider themselves religious and no matter what religion. Chaplaincy members wear blue shirts or blouses, for patients wishing to contact them. Bedside chaplaincy members provide a confidential listening ear for any concerns patients may wish to share. They help patients seeking support with medical, nursing  and other relevant concerns. Chaplaincy members can supply books such as a bible, Koran, Torah and Bhagavita. Patients can request Holy Communion or prayer. Chaplaincy Centre and Chapel, Level 2, next to the Michelham Unit, Eastbourne General Hospital. Phone 01323 417400. Ext. 4600

Conquest Hospital, St. Leonard's, Hastings. 

Queen Victoria Hospital, see http://www.qvh.nhs.uk/. Patients from Sovereign Harbour are periodically sent here for CT scans and other procedures.

Radio Station at Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH). Radio DHH at www.radiodgh.com. Most Hospital radio stations are members of the UK-wide Hospital Broadcasting Association. Inpatients at a local hospital are visited within a day or two by its radio station  You will be told about the programming on offer and asked if you'd like a classical or non-classical music request on the nightly request show. Requests played can range from Country and Western to Oldies and Goldies, classical and much in between. The station will gladly play classical requests although in general if the piece is more that 7 or 8 minutes long they will play an excerpt. They play full pieces on their dedicated classical music shows. Samples of such a requests are Casta Diva by Bellini sung by Nana Mouskouri, also her gorgeous Qual Cor Tradisti. And Lehar's Volga Lied. To make a hospital radio request for self, friend or family send your request to the station. Requests are usually played at night, sometimes at a specific time or near it, between 8 pm (2000 hours) and 10 pm (2200 hours). 

South East Coast Ambulance Service - see https://www.secamb.nhs.uk/. Wonderful organization. Its ambulances are seen regularly in Sovereign Harbour.

SHG spacer

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. 

SHG spacer

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). Virgin Media Ultrafast Fibre is not available in Sovereign Harbour, even after four years of some Sovereign Harbour residents having expressed specific interest. But in 2021 some areas of Sovereign Harbour South are now able to get fibre-to-fibre coverage.

Broadband types

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.

SHG spacer

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.

SHG spacer

Macauley Drive

Eastern part of Sovereign Harbour. Many new homes are being built by Stratton.

Macauley Place

All residential units shown  on Macauley Drive and adjacent roads above are subject to Annual Estate Rentcharge. It adds to their cost by consumers. 

SHG spacer

Macquarie Key also showing harrbour-side penestrian footpath

 Macquarie Quay walkway

SHG spacer

Martello Towers 64 & 66

See under Beaches. No 64 in at Sovereign Harbour North, opposite Caroline Way, with No. 66 at Sovereign Harbour South Site 9.  The Martello Towers are Grade II Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments, preserved - badly - by English Heritage.  The buildings are currently in a poor state of repair and is on the buildings-at-risk register.

SHG spacer

Media - Newspapers & Radio stations

SHG spacer

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 http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk

SHG spacer

Nearest Airports

Sovereign Harbour 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.

SHG spacer

Pacific House

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. There is parking for clients.

SHG spacer

Parking for residents

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. Describes Sovereign Harbour in which it is located as "Eastbourne's international experience" 

SHG spacer

Petrol stations nearby

Petrol stations

ASDA, nearest, at Sovereign Harbour Retail village shown above.

Sainsbury. Hampden Park. 2.48 miles. 

TESCO. 

SHG spacer

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.

SHG spacer

Pevensey Bay

East of Sovereign Harbour, extending nearly to Bexhill-On-Sea.  It has been alleged, wrongly, that the sea defence project mentioned below was because of the building of Sovereign Harbour in the 1990s.  Pevensey Bay is an old fishing village founded in the 1600s as Walllsend, the end of the sea wall from Eastbourne. This stretch of coastline has acted for centuries as an important defence against flooding and storm damage from the sea for a large area -  as far as Bexhill-on-Sea 9 miles east - of low-lying land immediately behind the beach, Situated in this area in 2021 are some 3,400-plus properties of Sovereign Harbour, all well above the beach area, and some 17,500 properties - with a number much closer to the beach than any Sovereign Harbour property, in fact with a few bordering the beach - several caravan parks, road and railway links, the Pevensey Levels SSSI - (Site of Special Scientific Interest Interest) and Ramsar site. These are all at risk of flooding if a breach of the sea defences occurs.

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.

Bay View Caravan Park, Old Martello Road, Pevensey Bay, Pevensey, BN24 6DX. Adjacent to Sovereign Harbour. Caravan dwellers who take the main 259 road when beaching. cycling, shopping or walking are not a problem. But when they beach or cycle or walk across the private, not public Sovereign Harbour North beach front  area fronting the Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings they cause a constant nuisance to Sovereign Harbour dwellers of North Harbour private beachfront properties. Bay View Holiday Park tells its customers wrongly that  the paved pathway in front of the apartment buildings is both public, which it is not, and a cycle track when in fact it is registered as a walkway for pedestrians only and has no cycle signs that approved cycle-ways have. Bay View Holiday customers are annoying in more ways. They use/misuse local residents WIFI. They walk their dogs and don't clean up messes. They leave trash on the beach. They are told, wrongly, that Sovereign Harbour North Beach is public when in fact it is private and Sovereign Harbour residents who pay £263.55 per house or flat to live there surely have more right to use it than Bay View Holiday Park and other people nearby who pay nothing. They cause more harm than good and make North Harbour beachside properties less appealing to prospective future buyers for these reasons. 

Pevensey Park Homes nuisances

In 1992 the sea defences were deteriorating faster than could be prevented by normal maintenance expenditure and the National Rivers Authority, then responsible for the beach, began to look at ways of attracting major capital investment. In June 1999 the Environment Agency named the privately held company Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd as the preferred bidder for the UK's first (and still the only one in 2021) PFI contract for a flood defence scheme. Under that £30 million contract the consortium - comprising contractors Westminster Dredging, Dean & Dyball and Mackley Construction, together with consulting group Mouchel Parkman and financial advisor KPMG Corporate Finance - was set up to manage the defences for 25 years, starting in the year 2000. The PPP Forum interviewed Peter Midgeley from the Environment Agency, Ian Thomas from Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd and Ron Gardner from Weatminster Dredging. The PPP Forum also received favourable comments at that time from Cllr Roger Thomas of the Sussex (Now East Sussex) County Council, Cllr Carole Cand larke of Pevensey Parish Council and Robert Chase of the Norman's Bay Residents Association. 

East Sussex County Councillor Roger Thomas, whose ward included Pevensey Bay and Norman's Bay, also sat on the regional flood defence committee and Sussex local flood defence committee and remained an active cammpaigner for funding to improve the sea defences. He expressed his satisfaction with the way the PFI has worked, particularly during the initial period of beach reconstruction.

Castle View Caravan Park. Campsite.

For East Sussex Pevensey Pay Area Flood Plan see https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/media/3382/pevenseybayareafloodplanfinaldec14.pdf.  Note that it excludes Sovereign Harbour  and implies, wrongly, that all residents in all nine wards of Eastbourne get flood defence for free, included in their general taxes.  It too totally ignores the fact that Sovereign Harbour residents alone pay for flood defence while residents in the 8 other Eastbourne wards and the rest of Sussex don't pay.

Martello Beach Park. Campsite. 

Grey Tower Caravan Park. Campsite.

Pevensey Bay Coastal Defence (PBCD). See its formation above and, today http://pevensey-bay.co.uk and http://pevensey-bay.co.uk/sovereign-harbour.html.  Claims to be a unique new model of public-sector and private-sector flood defence enterprise including for Sovereign Harbour for the Environment Agency, via a number of private-sector firms. Includes all of Sovereign Harbour. Like the Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Community Interest Company, which contract with the PBCD to provide flood defence for Sovereign Harbour, the PBCD provides deliberately omits to disclose on its website who pays the cost. On the very last line of the second-shown website above it implies misleadingly that only public money is involved. That is not so, as we show below:

Sovereign harbour residences left, paying while nearer-to-sea premises, right, are not 

Sovereign Harbour properties - left - pay for coastal flood defence but Pevensey Bay properties - right in this photo and those below - do not.  

Pevensey Bay house exempt from coastal defence cost while Sovereign Harbour properties higher up pay

Pevensey Bay property exempt from coastal defence cost, unlike Sovereign Harbour properties

Pevensey Bay house exempt from coastal dedence charge unllike Sovereign Harbour properties much higher up

Pevensey Bay home exempt from coastal defence charge that Sovereign Harbour homes  higher up have to pay

Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, below. East of and about a mile from Sovereign Harbour. Has a sign saying the beach is private. If this is the case then the beach at Sovereign Harbour North should also be deemed private. 

Pevensey Bay Sailing Club with private beach

Other Pevensey Bay properties below that also say their beach is private.

Pevensey Bay property with private beach

Pevensey Bay property with private beach

So surely, as Sovereign Harbour North Beach, on a private estate, should also be regarded as a private, not public, beach? 

SHG spacer

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 https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09315065/officers

When first marketed by estate agents all these properties were sold not on a freehold but leasehold tenure basis with leases of 999 years. All the 8 homes in these four buildings have:

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.

SHG spacer

Residents Leisure Card

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

SHG spacer

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. 

SHG spacer

Royal Sovereign Lighthouse offshore, until later in 2021

end of Royal Sovereign Lighthouse Located five miles offshore directly opposite easternmost Sovereign Harbour. Scheduled for demolition later in 2020 but this has been extended to later in 2021. Trinity House has begun preparation work to decommission it. 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. 

It 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 advent of telemetry, helicopter access and construction of this lighthouse were noted keenly by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, then Master of Trinity House that built the lighthouse. On 30 July 1974 he personally flew the helicopter to the lighthouse to carry out his inspection of the station. After inspecting it he flew the helicopter to Eastbourne and transferred to the Trinity House vessel Patricia that took him to Beachy Head Lighthouse where he carried out a similar inspection. 

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."

SHG spacer

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

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA)

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. As a residents association representing only residents, also owners and developers of where the residents live, it is a voluntary not statutory body. 

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. But this benefit is useless when alll the restaurants are  closed. 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. "  

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 https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdfIn particular, re Published Material and Information about a Property, see 7i, 7j, 7k and 7l which state this emphatically. In fact, the SHRA allows estate agents to market properties with no upfront indication at all of the true annual estate rentcharge and its liabilities or as a deliberately misleading "harbour charge" meaning 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. Nor do estate agents link to the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) that clearly shows it levies an (annual) estate rentcharge. Nor do estate agents or the SHT state that 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. 

Recently, in a letter to the Eastbourne Herald, the chair of the SHRA stated incorrectly that this author was wrong to state in an earlier letter by this author Keith Forbes that an estate agent not a solicitor is responsible for researching and giving annual estate rentcharge discovery details to new buyers. Keith Forbes was right, not wrong. What a solicitor does is summarized thus:

In 2016 the Homeowners Alliance confirmed this in its "What Estate Agents Have to Tell You" See https://hoa.org.uk/2013/10/what-estate-agents-have-to-tell-you-changes-to-the-law/ 

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? 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. They, 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 £261.80 in 2021 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, after this author an email shown below to RentCharges@communities.gov.uk of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, a reply was received that same day and said: "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. Website: www.gov.uk/rentcharges."

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.

Clearly, while in past years the SHRA appears to have actively objected commendably to the annual estate rentcharge, the situation has now changed. It now appears to be the case that ever since two SHRA chairmen and a committee member of the SHRA who is also a local authority councillor were appointed as directors of both the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust that demands the annual estate rentcharge and its "community interest company" that collects it, the activism has now stopped and instead the SHRA is merely asking for details of the annual estate rentcharge to be "transparent." 

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour Retail Village

Also known as The Crumbles.  Shops and Services.  M&G Real Estate is the Bermuda-incorporated US owners of the Sovereign Village/Crumbles Retail area. 

Sovereign Harbour Retail Park

ASDA stores in regionASDA. Eastbourne super store. Anchors the entire shopping centre.
Serves customers in a wide area from Sovereign Harbour including Bexhill, Dallington, Eastbourne, Forest Row, Hailsham, Hartfield, Hearstmonceux, Jevington, Newhaven, Plumpton, Polegate, Robertsbridge, Wadhurst, Westfield, Westham. 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. The new owners are British. Brought up in a terraced house in Lancashire, their parents moved from India in the 1970s to work in the textile industry. They are one of the biggest forecourt and convenience store operators in the world with 5,000 petrol stations in nine markets. 

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 2018. Premises have been vacant since then. Residents were deprived of the cinema when it moved to Eastbourne. The Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) invested hugely in the redevelopment of the Beacon retail mall in downtown Eastbourne and demanded that the cinema relocate. That new Cineworld cinema locale 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 shut-down of all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the USA, UK 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 Real Estate, the retail park owners, applied to change the use of the cinema building to retail use, the EBC imposed onerous planning restrictions and conditions. They 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. 

EBC and ESCC appear to believe 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 instead go to downtown Eastbourne instead, with the annoying traffic problems getting there and back as well. They make the town a place to be avoided.

Frankie & Benny's were here until March 2020. Premises are currently vacant.  Local residents really liked it. It served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at moderate prices when open and was especially popular for late Sunday morning breakfasts for Sovereign Harbour residents and birthday celebrations for outlying residents and their families and friends. It was constantly well-patronized before the Covid-19 lockdown. It was the only sit-down restaurant in Sovereign Harbour Village and good competition for the more expensive restaurants in Sovereign Harbour nearby.

In 2021. Vacancy rates in town shopping centres are almost twice those in out-of-town retail parks.  The surfeit of empty shops mostly in town and to a lesser extent in out-of-town retail parks is the result of a particular approach that planners took in the second half of the 20th century. The public and private sector went for broke in the 1950s and 1960s in terms of expanding retail development in towns and cities. Every other land use was squeezed out as retailers, chasing sales as incomes rose and access to credit widened during the 1980s and 1990s, bid rents higher and higher. Shop rents in these redeveloped centres were so much higher than what went before  and whole swaths of small businesses were destroyed. But now, particularly since the 2020-2021 pandemic and the gigantic increase of online shopping instead of physically going out to shop, owners of retail property are left with only two options, slash rents to bring in new tenants; and/or change leases from fixed prices to profits or turnover; or repurpose shops for alternative uses. A growing number of retailers are demanding leases linked to store sales rather than fixed amounts hat can only be changed when the lease ends or insolvency occurs. 

Eastbourne shopping Malls not in Sovereign Harbour

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour Waterfront restaurants & offices

Restaurants:

 Harbour GrillHarvester  Garden BarSeamoors

Restaurant annual rents paid recently

Offices

SHG spacer

Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club

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

SHG spacer

cheapest supermarkets in UK 2021Supermarkets nearby

Graphic shows supermarkets' comparative 2021 solely in best value for money in of shopping, not in overall customer satisfaction..

Convenience stores nearby

Co-op. Seaside, 2 miles.

ASDA delveryCo-opSainsbury delivery Tesco delivery

SHG spacer

Trains and stations 

Operator, Southern Railway. Eastbourne, 3  miles west. is not the nearest station, Pevensey Bay is. But is offers the best options for seating and getting there and back. Pevensey Bay is inconvenient in comparison, with no station passenger-friendly facilities or parking. There are regular and frequent (hourly or near) direct trains to Brighton, London Gatwick Airport (about 50 minutes). London Victoria (90 minutes) and Ashford International for Eurostar. 

Hampden Park. 3 miles.
Polegate. 5 miles.
Pevensey & Westham. 5 miles.
Pevensey Bay. 5 miles. No parking.

train

SHG spacer

Universities

SHG spacer

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. 

Flattering photo. In reality, the place, still unfinished, looks like a builder's yard, with no tarmac road in front of it, only an uneven gravel path. 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.

SHG spacer

By this same author

Email.gif (14893 bytes)

Authored, researched, compiled and website-managed by Keith A. Forbes.
Email editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk. Multi-national © 2021. All Rights Reserved. Last updated:11 June 2021